Omri Boehm in Literary Hub:
In the 25years that have passed since the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, his two-state Oslo legacy has been driven into the ground. In 1993, when the agreement was first signed, approximately 110,000 settlers were living in the West Bank, and 146,000 were living in occupied territories surrounding Jerusalem. By now, the numbers have increased to approximately 400,000 settlers in the West Bank and 300,000 around Jerusalem. This situation will not be reversed. In 2021, roughly 10 percent of Israel’s Jewish population lives on occupied territory—subject to Israeli law, represented by Israel’s parliament—and enjoys the opportunities and prosperity of a flourishing first-world country, with public schools, factories, banks, a system of highways, and a research university at their disposal. Around them, however, are almost 3 million Palestinians who, for 53 years now, have lived under Israel’s aggressive military regime.
Even intransigent two-state supporters agree that not all of these settlers can be evacuated, but they insist that the challenge posed by their presence is exaggerated. On this view, whereas the West Bank’s map is stained by approximately 130 spots marking Israeli settlements, about 110 of them count populations of less than 5,000. Another 60 settlements, the argument goes, have populations of less than 1,000, and many of them are, in the first place, located next to the 1967 border: by introducing only minor corrections to the border, it is allegedly possible to leave most settlers within Israel’s proper territory, and to compensate the Palestinians with other pieces of land from other areas. Given this, it is claimed that the tendency to “grossly overstate” the obstacle that settlements pose to a future two-state solution is based not on a sober analysis of the situation, but on an ideological support of one-state politics.
Unfortunately, this optimism is itself highly ideological, and can only be preserved if one avoids a careful look at the map.