National Geographic : 2002 Oct
Jenin, and Ramallah, all of which experienced a brief flicker of prosperity. But by March 2002, 67 percent of Palestinians in the occupied terri tories were living under the poverty level of two dollars a day. Contributing to this decline was a sense of despair that since the mid-1980s had hastened the rise of Palestinian extremist groups. With the ineffectuality of the Palestinian Authority (PA), as Yasser Arafat's administration is called, and with every setback in the peace process, these groups have grown stronger. Suicide bombers attack Israeli civilians; the Israeli military assassinates suspected terrorists and restricts the movements of Palestinians; and the cycle of violence and hatred continues. Meanwhile, since 1993, the number of set tlers on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem has risen from 247,000 to 376,000. Most of them live in three large blocs that both hem in the Palestinian cities and divide them from each other, jeopardizing the cohesion of any future Palestinian state. On the western side of the West Bank, for example, the settler city of Ariel separates the major Palestinian towns of Qal qilyah, Nablus, and Ramallah. Farther south another bloc of settlements stretches east to within eight miles of the Jordan River, cutting the West Bank in two and dividing the 200,000 Palestinians of East Jerusalem from Ramallah to the north. Southwest of Jerusalem yet another major settlement cluster sits between Bethlehem and Hebron. In talks aimed at reaching a final agreement in 2000 at Camp David and in early 2001 in Taba, Egypt-Israeli negotiators reportedly offered to hand over almost all the West Bank to full Palestinian control. Israelis were divided between those who resented such concessions and those who saw the settlements as an imped iment to peace. In any event, Palestinian negoti ators rejected the proposal, noting as their rationale that the proposed Palestinian state would be composed of disconnected parts, cut 11 r. iN1131AL 1 KEY TO MAPS AND PROPOSALS - The Green Une This pre-1967 frontier between Israel and the occupied territories pro vides a framework for negotiations. The Saudi proposal, endorsed by the Arab Summit in April, called on Israel to return to the Green Line in exchange for normal ized relations. i AreaA Areas in which the Pal estinian Authority (PA) exerts full civil and mili tary control. W AreaB Areas in which the PA exerts full civil control, but shares military con trol with Israel. Area C Areas in which Israel exerts full civil and military control. MAPSOURCE:FOUNDATION FOR MIDDLEEASTPEACE:JANDEJONG Oslo I Meeting secretly in Norway, Israeli representatives and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO)-now the Palestinian Authority (PA)-led by Yasser Arafat, agreed to recognize Israel's right to exist in return for a phased withdrawal of Israel from the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin agreed to a five-year program leading to the cre ation of a Palestinian state. For openers, Jericho and most of the Gaza Strip were shifted to Palestinian self rule (Area A), while Israel retained control of the rest. Oslo II Against a backdrop of rising militancy on all sides, negotiators pushed on to phase two, shifting 23 per cent of the West Bank to Area B, and began pulling troops from West Bank cit ies. (In later agreements, Areas A and Bgrewto 40 percent of the West Bank, even as Israel continued to build settlements in Area C.) The settlement issue along with Jerusalem and refugees-was left for later. At a peace rally in November 1995, Israel's Rabin was assassinated by a Jewish zealot. Camp David II PA leader Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak met with President Clinton at Camp David, hoping for a breakthrough in negotia tions. Talks failed to pro duce agreement on the proposal below; two of the stickiest issues remained the status of Jerusalem and the return of Palestinian refugees. A few weeks after the talks ended, Israeli politician Ariel Sharon visited the Al Aqsa Mosque Temple Mount complex with Israeli police. A Pales tinian intifada, or uprising, followed swiftly.