Tuesday, December 18, 2012
The New York Times takes a look at the future of E1, a heavily contested piece of land on the borders of East Jerusalem:
Israel sees E1, only 4.6 square miles and largely rocky desert, as the stone in the arch that connects East Jerusalem, which Israel has annexed, to Maale Adumim, one of the biggest of the so-called settlement blocs, with a population of 40,000. Israel says it intends to keep Maale Adumim in any peace settlement, hoping to swap land with any future Palestinian state. In fact, it was Yitzhak Rabin of the Labor Party who in 1994 attached E1 to the municipality of Maale Adumim.
For the Palestinians, E1 is seen as essential if they are ever to achieve a viable independent state with East Jerusalem as their capital. Palestinians say they need the land to preserve a workable, practical connection between East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and to build housing for Palestinian refugees and their descendants. As important, the Palestinians contend, E1 is central to a crucial north-south route through the West Bank from Ramallah to Bethlehem.