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Obstacles remain ahead of Mideast peace progress

09-14-2010 14:16 BJT

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is due to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Egypt on September 14th. This will be the second round of direct peace talks between the two.

The negotiations aim at striking a deal within a year to set up an independent Palestinian state living peacefully next to Israel.

However, there are still several obstacles before peace can be achieved. Peter Koveos provides more insight on the issues.

This is maybe the world's most complicated and controversial map. Drafted by the UN, the map of the West Bank shows an area inhabited by both Palestinians and Israelis.

The circled X's mark checkpoints. Over the six thousand square-kilometres of land, barbed-wire fences are everywhere.

Prof. Li Shaoxian, China Inst. of Contemporary Int'l Relations, said, "The territorial dispute between the Palestinians and the Israeli's has been at the heart of their conflict. In past negotiations, even a moderate Israeli government felt it hard to compromise on territorial claims. For the Palestinians, even Yassar Arafat, the most influential and revered leader, never compromised on this issue, let alone Mahmoud Abbas"

The status of Jerusalem remains another core issue in the conflict. Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a future Palestinian state. Israel, however, considers the entire city to be a part of Israel.

Five Mid-east wars occurred after the State of Israel was established in 1948. During these wars, Israel took over large areas of Palestinian lands, including the city of Jerusalem. Millions of Palestinian refugees have been driven out of their homeland. They have the right to return under the UN Charter, but the lands are occupied and have already been settled by others.

For a long time, Israel has been establishing many settlements in the occupied-territories. Such settlements currently exist in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. The ongoing settlement construction by Israel is frequently criticized as an obstacle to the peace process.

Water resources are another vital issue in establishing peace. Israel takes an obvious favorable position in the possession and consumption of fresh water. The Israeli government forbids Palestinians from digging wells for irrigation. They can only use rain water for their crops. Israel controls much of Palestine's fresh water, while selling water back to Palestinians, at prices double what they charge Jewish settlers.

The peace talks this time are indeed fragile as they face many uncertainties. Analysts warn the failure of negotiations will be capitalized by the war-like political forces from both sides, causing more instability in the region.


Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: CNTV.CN

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