Conflicts & War

Dividing lands

By Laura Fernández Palomo

Al-Auja, Jericho, West Bank, Jun 26 (efe-epa).- Overlooking the mountains of the Jordan Valley, the house of shepherdess Um Mahmud is located in Area A of the West Bank, which is administered by the Palestinian National Authority.

But she is unable to access her pasture, which, although just a few meters from her home, is in Israeli-administered Area C territory.

According to international law, the area should be part of Al-Auja, a Palestinian town in the fertile and strategic West Bank valley along the Jordanian border. But the region has been fragmented by Israeli settlements, farms and military zones.

Both for those who live and travel through the area or for GPS satellites up in orbit, the map of Palestinian territory that has been occupied and cut up by Israeli settlements is almost impossible to decipher.

From 1 July, the Israeli government plans to extend its control over the Jordan Valley and annex more than 200 Israeli settlements in the West Bank, a move that has been widely condemned by the international community apart from the United States, which helped draw up the plan.


“One of the main problems after the annexation will be to confine ourselves to small villages with no possibility of expanding,” Taghrid al-Nayi, a Bedouin member of the Al-Auja town council tells Efe.

Little is known about the final map proposed by the Israel-US peace plan, backed by US President Donald Trump and known as the “Vision for Peace, Prosperity and a Brighter Future”, save from the fact it will modify Area C, which covers roughly 62 percent of the West Bank and has been controlled by Israel since the 1992 Oslo Accords, the last territorial treaty agreed by Israeli and Palestinian authorities.

That agreement established three zones in the West Bank: Area A, which is under Palestinian control; Area B, which is under jointly administered; and Area C, which is under Israeli administration.

Palestinian authorities have wholeheartedly rejected Trump’s Middle East plan, which would replace the Oslo Accords.

According to Trump, the proposal recognizes the reality of the situation that 420,000 Israelis live in settlements dotted throughout the region. But those settlements are deemed illegal by the United Nations.

Al Nayi has calculated her predictions as to how and when the plan will be carried out by looking at Israel’s previous territorial seizures, from the annexation of the Golan Heights from Syria in 1981 to the occupation of East Jerusalem, which Palestinians see as a future capital city.

Israel’s de facto annexation of East Jerusalem has never been recognized by the international community.

“We signed the Oslo Accords for a period of five years as a transitional step to the establishment of a state,” Palestinian minister and chairman of Commission Against the Wall and Settlements, Walid Assaf, tells Efe.

Twenty-eight years later, he laments, not only does the two-state solution seem a long way off, but the situation on the ground in the West Bank makes it all but impossible.


“This land is the cradle of the Jewish people and it’s time to apply Israeli law and write a glorious new chapter of Zionism. This doesn’t bring us further from peace but rather closer to it, because peace can only be based on the truth,” Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said when he took office again in May.

Trump presented his peace plan in January, opening the door to Israel’s annexation of land and the creation of a Palestinian state that would concede 30 percent of the West Bank’s territory.

The proposed state would have no control over its borders or skies, its sovereignty would be limited and its capital would be based in a suburb of Jerusalem. The holy Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City, the home of sacred sites for Palestinian Muslims and Christians, would remain outside its terrirory.

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