Firstly, whether the West Bank land that consists of Areas B & C (under Israeli military administration) is empty or not is completely irrelevant — the reason this land is empty is that it is off-limits to Palestinian land owners and farmers, by Israeli military edict (context is important).
Secondly, the interim agreements in both Oslo I and II did not replace UN security resolutions, which set out the framework for a gradual withdrawal on Israel’s part from occupied territories.
During the Oslo Process, Israel almost doubled the size and population of the illegal settlements, creating facts on the ground that may be irreversible.
This has done far more to damage the long-term prospects for peace than any intransigence on the Palestinian side.
The Oslo accords were supposed to last for a five-year interim period and neither accord promised Palestinian statehood.
Thirdly, at Camp David, Ehud Barak presented the following: no Palestinian sovereignty over the Temple Mount, no right of return or any return of refugees to Israel, Israel’s annexation of large [illegal] settlement blocs, an Israeli military presence over ‘other’ areas, and effective Israeli sovereignty over the borders of the future Palestinian state.
These were unreasonable conditions, conditions that no Palestinian leader could accept, though Arafat proved willing to negotiate on several of them.
In conclusion, the Palestinians could not have been enjoying economic benefits, because Israel has ensured they have a crippled, dependent economy that relies entirely on the Israeli shekel and the morsels of business that Israel permits.
These facts, of course, point to massive holes in Ms Walsh’s entire letter and the public deserves to be informed of the distribution of Hasbara (propaganda) lies and misinformation designed to obscure the World Bank’s very clear information.
Queen’s University Belfast Students’ Union