Core issues at heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

from Agence France-Presse
Published on 29 Jul 2013

07/29/2013 01:16 GMT

WASHINGTON, July 29, 2013 (AFP) - Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will Monday resume peace talks stalled for almost three years at a meeting hosted by US Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington.

But after over 20 years of negotiations key issues still separate the two sides:

-- PALESTINIAN STATE AND POWERS: The Palestinians want an independent and fully sovereign state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with east Jerusalem as its capital. Israel wants a demilitarized Palestinian state, a long-term military presence in the West Bank's Jordan Valley, and to retain control over its airspace and foreign borders.

-- PALESTINIAN BORDERS AND JEWISH SETTLEMENTS: The Palestinians want Israel to withdraw from all land occupied since the 1967 Six-Day war and to dismantle all Jewish settlements, although they have accepted the principle of minor land swaps equal in size and value.

Israel rules out a full return to pre-1967 borders, but is ready to pull out of some parts of the West Bank while annexing its largest settlement blocs which are home to some 360,000 Israelis, including east Jerusalem.

The Palestinians want a freeze on all settlement building during peace talks.

-- JERUSALEM: Israel captured Arab east Jerusalem from Jordan in 1967 and later annexed it in a move not recognized by the international community. It considers the city its "eternal and indivisible" capital.

The Palestinians want to make east Jerusalem, home to some 280,000 Palestinians and more than 200,000 Israelis, the capital of their future state.

-- REFUGEES: There are approximately five million registered Palestinian refugees, mostly descendants of the 760,000 Palestinians who fled or were expelled when the Jewish state was created in 1948.

The Palestinians demand Israel recognize their "right of return," but during peace talks have demanded Israel recognize the "principle" of it and thus take responsibility over the issue, while stating its application would be mutually decided upon.

Israel rejects the demand for the "right of return." Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants the Palestinians to accept Israel as "the state of the Jewish people," which would ensure the refugee issue be resolved within the borders of a future Palestinian state.

-- WATER: Israel controls most of underground water resources in the West Bank. The Palestinians want a more equitable share.


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