Palestinians in the largest section of the occupied West Bank have been “continuously undermined” by Israel in ways that are “closing the window” on a two-state solution, according to an internal report from the European Union attained by The Independent.
The EU should support and promote Palestinian building projects to protect the rights of “ever more isolated” Palestinians in “Area C,” a sector comprising 62 percent of the West Bank, is under full Israeli control, and includes 124 Jewish settlements, which are illegal under international law.
The number of Jewish settlers has risen sharply to 310,000. This is double that of the shrinking Palestinian population in Area C, which holds the “most fertile and resource rich land.” The report warns that “if current trends are not stopped and reversed, the establishment of a viable Palestinian state within pre-1967 borders seem more remote than ever.”
The internal document, writes The Independent, explains how “a combination of house and farm building demolitions; a prohibitive planning regime; relentless settlement expansion; the military’s separation barrier; obstacles to free movement; and denial of access to vital natural resources, including land and water, is eroding Palestinian tenure of the large tract of the West Bank on which hopes of a contiguous Palestinian state depend.”
Peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians have failed consistently throughout the Obama administration, buying time as unyielding U.S. support facilitates Israeli encroachment into Palestinian territory and impedes any hope of a just settlement.