Root causes behind the Israeli-Palestinian impasse
By Alon Ben-Meir – July 11, 2011
On the surface, the current stalemate in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process seems illogical. After all, each side knows, with the exception of the Netanyahu government, that the basic framework of a negotiated settlement: a two-state solution based on the 1967 border with land swaps that keep the major settlement blocs inside Israel proper. Jerusalem would remain a united capital of two-states, and the vast majorities of Palestinian refugees would be compensated and remain in their countries of residence or resettle in the newly created state of Palestine, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
These fundamental factors, coupled with appropriate security guarantees for Israel, represent what has been on the table at the conclusion of numerous rounds of negotiations in the past decades, with each round coming closer to finalizing the deal, yet failing to do so. But why? And why the deep reluctance now by either side to return to talks if the foundations are so clear? Because before agreeing on suitable arrangements, both sides must put to rest the deeply embedded and conflicting psychological dimensions, religious convictions, and nationalist narratives of each side. These factors must be recognized, understood and addressed if a genuine end to the conflict is ever to be reached.
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