Monday, March 19, 2007

Sandwich counter on the West Bank

"What is to become of the Palestinians?"

"Oh," Sharon said, "we'll make a pastrami sandwich of them."

I said, "What?"

He said, "Yes, we'll insert a strip of Jewish settlement, in between the Palestinians, and then another strip of Jewish settlement, right across the West Bank, so that in twenty-five years time, neither the United Nations, nor the United States, nobody, will be able to tear it apart".

Sharon's territorial preferences were formed decades ago, and they have not changed significantly over time. The settlement plan he unveiled as Minister of Agriculture in 1977 focused on the area of the West Bank east of the Green Line. Sharon planned settlements in this region as a way of preventing the creation of "a solid Arab block" straddling Palestinian towns on both sides of the Green Line and reaching eastward to the populated region joining Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah and Jerusalem. In this latter area, Sharon spearheaded the establishment of numerous small settlements along the mountain ridge.

The Sharon map of 1997 proposed the annexation of between 64 per cent of the West Bank and thirty-one percent of its Palestinian population to Israel. It acknowledged the need to accommodate the reality of Palestinian sovereignty in a portion of the West Bank within a strategic environment dominated militarily by Israel and without obstructing the expansion of Israeli settlements.

[Graphic from We are wide awake.]

Read those words of Sharon from 30+ years ago and look at that map. This has been a decades long land grab. Quite apart from the rhetoric demand by the Israelis, just what "state of Israel" is the Palestinian Authority supposed to recognise?


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