Ramallah- For the Palestinians, they have much to feel superior over Israelis after 50 years of occupying the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. They simply want to restore what they lost back then and rejected in subsequent proposals: a state on the borders of 67, no more and no less.
However, what did remain of this desired state after two decades of long-term war and renewed negotiations?
Palestinian Senior Negotiator Saeb Erekat answered this question and said in an official statement released on Sunday, on the occasion of 50 years of Israeli occupation, that the Palestinian leadership will refuse and fight the Israelis’ attempt to impose apartheid through colonial settlement and intensive processes of ethnic cleansing and collective punishment, in anticipation of reaching a political settlement.
What remain, in brief, are divided lands that are besieged or occupied by one state that maintains two systems.
It is not a secret that in many stages following the Israeli occupation, a Palestinian state could have been established, with sovereign and clear borders. However, this seems to be different now since Palestinians have been living under three different powers in three divided areas: West Bank, controlled by the Palestinian Authority, East Jerusalem, controlled by Israel and Gaza Strip, controlled by Hamas.
The West Bank: the occupied and divided area
The land area of the West Bank is 5,640 km squared and is located east of Israel and west of Jordan. It was occupied in 1967 with the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, Syrian Golan Heights and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
The West Bank comprises 21 percent of Palestine’s historic land area, but after 50 years of occupation, Israel gives Palestinians only 40 percent of the land, planted with settlements, soldiers, and protected streets, making it difficult to calculate the area under Palestinian control.
Some 2.9 million Palestinians live in the West Bank today, about 430,000 live in the settlements and another 200,000 in East Jerusalem; these settlements make it impossible for the divided state to unite.