West Bank outpost 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
WASHINGTON – A pro-Israel US think tank released proposals that would
reconcile allowing a majority of the settlers to stay in place with a
Palestinian state through commensurate land swaps.
The detailed proposal,
released Thursday by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, nods to
longstanding Palestinian demands for a return to pre-1967 lines by adhering to
one-to-one land swaps.
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Under the proposal, between 68-80 percent of
settlers would remain in place, and the Palestinian state would receive Israeli
lands adjacent to the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula and parts of the West
The significance of the proposal is its source: The Washington
Institute maintains close ties with both the Obama administration and the
government of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and is also in touch with the
David Makovsky, a senior fellow at the institute
who authored the proposals, said he had consulted with officials in all three
administrations while preparing the proposal.
The proposal is aimed at
pushing back against notions that it is too late to extract a two-state
solution, especially now that that Israeli-Palestinian talks seem
“We endorse the idea that the impossible is achievable,” said
Robert Satloff, the institute’s director.
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The proposal does not overcome
all the obstacles, notably leaving aside Jerusalem and the status of Palestinian
Additionally, the Palestinian and Israeli sides have deadlocked
over whether Israel would leave a security presence in the Jordan Valley
The proposal, outlined in three possible maps, allows for
contiguity in the West Bank, but also thrusts Israeli “fingers” into the
northern West Bank.
It also anticipates the necessity of removing Kiryat
Arba, the home of thousands of some of the most resolute settlers.
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