First: The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an ongoing dispute between the State of Israel and the Palestinians. It also forms part of the wider Arab-Israeli conflict. Essentially it is a dispute between two national identities with claims over the same area of land. Many attempts have been made to broker a "two state solution," which would entail the creation of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel. At present, the vast majority of Israelis and Palestinians, according to many major polls, agree that a two state solution is the best way to end the conflict. Most Palestinians view the West Bank and Gaza Strip as constituting the area of their future state, a view also accepted by most Israelis. A handful of academics advocate a one-state solution, whereby all of Israel, the Gaza Strip, and West Bank would become a bi-national state with equal rights for all.5] However, there are significant areas of disagreement over the shape of any final agreement, and also regarding the level of credibility each side sees in the other in upholding basic commitments.
There are several domestic and international actors involved in the conflict. The direct negotiating parties are the Israeli government led by Ehud Olmert and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), headed by Mahmoud Abbas. The official negotiations are mediated by an international contingent known as the Quartet on the Middle East (the Quartet), consisting of the United States, Russia, the European Union, the United Nations, and represented by a special envoy, currently Tony Blair. The Arab League is another important actor, which has proposed an alternative peace plan. Egypt, a founding member of the Arab League, has historically been a key participant.
Since 2006, the Palestinian side has been fractured by conflict between the two major factions: Fatah, the largest party, and Hamas, an Islamist militant group. As a result, the territory controlled by the Palestinian National Authority (the Palestinian interim government) is split between Fatah in the West Bank, and Hamas in the Gaza strip. This has proved problematic as Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by Israel and many other countries[6 which means that despite the fact it won the Palestinian elections of 2006, it has not been allowed to participate in official negotiations. The most recent round of peace negotiations began at Annapolis, USA in November, 2007. These talks aim to have a final resolution by the end of 2008. The parties agree there are six core, or 'final status,' issues which need to be resolved: Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, security, borders and water. These issues are discussed at length below.
Within Israeli and Palestinian society, the conflict generates a wide variety of views and opinions (see also Israeli and Palestinian views of the peace process). This serves to highlight the deep divisions which exist not only between Israelis and Palestinians, but also amongst themselves. A hallmark of the conflict has been the level of violence witnessed for virtually its entire duration. Fighting has been conducted by regular armies, paramilitary groups, and terror cells. Casualties have not been restricted to the military, with a large loss of civilian life on both sides. Please brush up on the History of the area
The Israeli West-Bank barrier is a barrier being constructed by Israel consisting of a network of fences with vehicle-barrier trenches surrounded by an on average 60 meters wide exclusion area (90%) and up to 8 meters high concrete walls (10%). It is located mainly within the West Bank, partly along the 1949 Armistice line, or "Green Line" between Israel and Jordan which now demarcates the West Bank. As of April 2006, the length of the barrier as approved by the Israeli government is 703 kilometers (436 miles) long. Approximately 58.04% has been constructed, 8.96% is under construction, and construction has not yet begun on 33% of the barrier. The Jerusalem Post reported in July 2007 that the barrier may not be fully constructed until 2010, seven years after it was originally supposed to be completed.
The barrier is a highly controversial project. Supporters argue that the barrier is a necessary tool protecting Israeli civilians from Palestinian terrorism, including suicide bombing attacks, that increased significantly during the al-Aqsa Intifada; it has helped to significantly reduce incidents of terrorism from 2002 to 2005; its supporters assert that the onus is on the Palestinian Authority to fight terrorism. Opponents argue that the barrier is an illegal attempt to annex Palestinian land under the guise of security, violates international law, has the intent or effect to pre-empt final status negotiations, and severely restricts Palestinians who live nearby, particularly their ability to travel freely within the West Bank and to access work in Israel, thereby undermining their economy.
* Pro-settler opponents claim that the barrier is a sly attempt to artificially create a border that excludes the settlers, creating "facts on the ground" that justify the mass dismantlement of hundreds of settlements and displacement of over 100,000 Jews from the land they claim as their biblical homeland. Two similar barriers, the Israeli Gaza Strip barrier and the Israeli-built 40 foot wall separating Gaza from Egypt (destroyed on January 23, 2008, have been much less controversial. Look at the History of the so called Peace Walls
Now it seems to me that not only to try and keep the peace in Bush's success Sadr City but also in a failed attempt to protect the 3/4 Billion dollar Boondoggle of a monument to Bush's failed middle east democratization Baghdad's US embassy. BAGHDAD — Trying to stem the infiltration of militia fighters, American forces have begun to build a massive concrete wall that will partition Sadr City, the densely populated Shiite neighborhood in the Iraqi capital. The construction, which began Tuesday night, is intended to turn the southern quarter of Sadr City near the international Green Zone into a protected enclave, secured by Iraqi and American forces, where the Iraqi government can undertake reconstruction efforts. “You can’t really repair anything that is broken until you establish security,” said Lt. Col. Dan Barnett, commander of the First Squadron, Second Stryker Cavalry Regiment. “A wall that isolates those who would continue to attack the Iraqi Army and coalition forces can create security conditions that they can go In and rebuild.”
* On Wednesday night, huge cranes slowly lifted heavy concrete blocks into place under a moonless sky. The barriers were implanted on Al Quds Street, a major thoroughfare that separates the Tharwa and Jamilla districts to the south from the heart of Sadr City to the north. The avenue was quiet except for the whirring sound of the cranes and thud of the barriers as they touched the ground. Contractors operated the cranes, but American soldiers transported the barriers on trucks and directed their placement. The team building the barrier was protected by M-1 tanks, Stryker vehicles and Apache attack helicopters. As the workers labored in silence, there was a burst of fire as an M-1 tank blasted its main gun at a small group of fighters to the west. An Apache helicopter fired a Hellfire missile at a militia team equipped with rocket-propelled grenades, again interrupting the night with a thunderous boom. A cloud of dark smoke was visible in the distance through the Stryker’s night-vision system.
Concrete barriers have been employed in other areas of Baghdad. As the barriers were being erected in other neighborhoods, some residents said they feared being isolated. But walls have often proved to be an effective tool in blunting insurgent attacks. While the American military hopes to turn the southern portion of Sadr City into a protected enclave so that reconstruction can proceed, there has been no indication that the Iraqi government has mounted such efforts in recent days. During a joint patrol conducted by Iraqi Army soldiers and American troops from the First Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division on Tuesday, residents complained vociferously about stagnant pools of water, downed power lines and piles of garbage.
The Americans sought to persuade the Iraqis that they were just as eager for the Iraqi government to fix the infrastructure and restore water and electricity. “We are not stopping governmental services from coming in here,” Lt. Matthew Schardt, the commander of First Platoon, Company B, sought to assure one distressed woman. “We want them to come in here.” The American military plans to hire 200 Sadr City residents to clean up trash for a 75-day period. So far, it has hired about 90, Colonel Barnett said. But the program is seen as a stopgap effort. US erecting wall to protect Sadr City, Peace?
* Peace will never happen period: Wake up, stop the Partisan games! We can not only not secure the infamous Green Zone we can not even secure one Damn city or supply them with electricity and drinking water. This is success? Combat? Walled security? Sub human living standards? This is what McCain promises to continue! Leave tomorrow or stay 100 years absolutely nothing will stop the middle east Breakdown Bush guaranteed when he attacked Iraq to go after Iran and help Israel create a new middle east order!