APRIL 15, 2005
The Divide Over Israeli Settlements
The April 12 article, “Bush, Sharon Clash Openly,” repeats without challenge Palestinian claims about West Bank contiguity. Contrary to Palestinian allegations, the planned expansion of Maale Adumim will not cut off Arab areas in East Jerusalem from the West Bank. The planned neighborhood will in no way affect Palestinian traffic between East Jerusalem and the surrounding Arab communities of Abu Dis, Eizariya, Hizma and Anata.
Likewise, the allegation that the new Jewish neighborhood will impede north-south movement in the West Bank is nonsense.
Even if Israel were to fill in the Jerusalem-Maale Adumim corridor entirely, Palestinians will be able to travel north-south anywhere east of Maale Adumim, which at its narrowest point is 15 kilometers wide.
For comparative purposes, were Israel to return to its 1967 boundaries, a step that Palestinians and their supporters advocate, Israel’s narrowest point would also be only 15 kilometers wide. If 15 kilometers is considered sufficient for Israeli traffic, shouldn’t it also be for Palestinian movement?Tamar Sternthal
Director, Israel Office
Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America