Contrary to world popular opinion, Israel is not an occupying force, extending its domain by annexing the land of her neighbors and maintaining an occupation force on somebody else's land by using brute military force to ensure her expansionist policies. Rather, Israel has acquired the land that is the subject of dispute by repulsing the invading armies of her neighbors. The framework of the Madrid Peace Conference/Process has been a work-in-progress revealing the Israeli attempt to comply with United Nations Resolutions to withdraw from the disputed territory, granted that she can be guaranteed future national Security. Afterall, Israel has been assaulted three times (1948, 1956, and 1967) by her Arab neighbors when she never occupied a single inch of the land in question. Furthermore, by winning a war against aggressor nations, Israel has also won the legitimate right to annex the territory in dispute. I have never heard anybody discuss what would have happened if Israel lost any of those wars. Would the UN have held a conference to discuss the extermination of Israel, and erected a monument over their grave or something? Nevertheless, Israel has been a willing participant in the “land-for-peace” formula that is the basis of the Middle East Peace Process. This demonstrates the legitimate Israeli desire for peace and that Israel is willing to concede to give the disputed territory away, if it goes to a peaceful neighbor.
The Israeli proposal included the following main points:
1. Jewish areas outside Jerusalem's municipal boundaries would be annexed to the city.
2. Arab areas outside Jerusalem's municipal boundaries would become the heart of the new Arab city of Al-Quds.
3. Arab neighborhoods inside Jerusalem's present boundaries would either be annexed to Al-Quds or would be granted extensive self-rule.
4. Jerusalem's ancient, walled Old City would be divided, with the Muslim and Christian quarters offered autonomy under formal Israeli sovereignty, while the Jewish and Armenian quarters remained fully under Israeli rule. The Palestinian state would gain religious autonomy over the Temple Mount, though Israel proposed that an area be set aside for Jewish prayer on the site.
The Palestinians rejected the proposal, sticking to their demand for full sovereignty over all of Jerusalem's Arab neighborhoods. An American compromise proposal granting them sovereignty over the Old City neighborhoods but autonomy over the city's other Arab neighborhoods, or vice versa, was also rejected, though the Israeli side had indicated its readiness to consider this as well. After the Camp David meeting, Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian leadership returned fully to the terrorism pathway. That action reveals that the Palestinian leadership never desired any kind of peace with Israel. So the disputed territory remains in dispute only because Israel exists!
President Clinton with then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat at the 2000 Camp David Final Status talks. You may well remember the two-step dance Barak and Arafat did as they entered the compound to discuss the occupied territory. Barak was about to make Arafat a very generous offer and make a call Arafat's peace-bluff.
The breakdown at Camp David began a firestorm of propaganda. Rumors circulated throughout the media and press about the extent as to which Israel was willing to offer Yasser Arafat for an end to the conflict over the disputed territory. The following map conveys that Israel's initial proposal (which was rejected and not countered) was to withdraw from about 88-90% of the so-called occupied territory, while delaying future withdrawals amounting to nearly 95-97% of the territory, based on Palestinian compliance to Israel's security needs. While the peace process came to a sudden and grinding halt with Arafat's rejection, this very proposal reflects the fact that Israel was the only faithful negotiating partner seeking peace. Occupied Territory? I would say to Israel, hang on to every square inch of the land, it is yours! It is yours by Divine right and by common sense. And lest we forget, you have a Biblical Deed to the Disputed territory!