From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Two state solution
Mains level : Israel - Palestine issue
The US administration declared that the Israeli settlements on the West Bank are not illegal. The decision is in line with President Donald Trump’s Israel policy, which has unconditionally favored the nation.
- This challenges international laws and consensus on the issue.
- It also complicates the already-stalled peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
Line of events
- Jerusalem – In 2017, Trump announced that the U.S. would recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. That broke an international consensus that the status of Jerusalem should be settled as part of a peace agreement.
- Golan Heights – In 2019, the US recognised the Golan Heights, which Israel seized from Syria in the 1967 war, as part of Israel.
- West Bank – with the recognition of the Jewish settlements on the West Bank, the US has boosted Israel’s religious right, which wants the settlements to be annexed.
- The UN General Assembly, the Security Council and the International Court of Justice have all stated that the Israeli settlements on the West Bank are illegal.
- According to the Fourth Geneva Convention, an occupying power “shall not transfer parts of its civilian population into the territory it occupies”.
- There are at least 4,00,000 Israeli settlers on the West Bank.
- The ‘security barrier’ Israel has built has cut deeper into the West Bank to incorporate some of the settlements.
- The check-points Israel has set up across the West Bank restrict the movement of Palestinians.
Two state solution
- Palestine wants the two-state solution implemented only based on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state of Palestine.
- Israel is non-committal on Jerusalem. The right of return of the Palestinian refugees forced from their homes during the 1948 war remains an issue.
- Israel has already taken effective control of a huge chunk of the West Bank through the settlements.
- UNSC has asked Israel to stall the settlement activities, but Israel has hardly paid any attention to international opinion.
If Israel goes ahead with the annexation of the settlements, that will be the last nail in the coffin of the two-state solution.
It is a proposed solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It envisages an independent State of Palestine alongside the State of Israel, west of the Jordan River.