Israel-Palestinian Hardliners Harden Stances

Israel Cabinet minister Aviggdor Lieberman said he would leave the government if Prime Minister Olmert gave Palestinians control of the west bank or allowed them to have east Jerusalem as its capital. He even opposes any type of symbolic statement regarding the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes. United Arab League spokesman Admad Tibi, was equally adamant even refusing compromises. “There can be no agreement without the dismantlement of settlements and the removal of settlers…the borders must be the 1967 line, including east Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.’

The road to settlement must include a give and take. Three key issues separate the two sides: status of refugees, west bank settlements, and Jerusalem. There should be no problem accepting east Jerusalem as the capital of an independent Palestine, all Palestinian refugees can not return to Israel without altering the nature of the Jewish majority in the nation, and the west bank settlements can not remain in its present condition. A sizable portion of that area must return to Palestinian control.

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