After six visits by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to Israel and the West Bank over the past five months, he finally got both sides to agree to a resumption of peace talks. It will be the first such dialogue in over three years.
Israel seized the West Bank during the 1967 Six-Days War, and the Palestinians have been struggling for independence since. Without any doubt, this has been the pinnacle conflict in the Middle East through the past 46 years.
Tens of thousands of innocent lives have been wasted in suicide bombings, land mine explosions and rocket attacks. The United Nations has deemed the Israeli occupation of the West Bank illegal, and every U.S. presidential administration has attempted to resolve the conflict.
The key issues in the negotiations will be the following:
- Final borders between Israel and Palestine—land swaps will be necessary as more than a half-million Israelis live on 130 settlements throughout the West Bank
- The rightful return of four million Palestinian refugees
- The status of Jerusalem—both sides claim it to be their capital
- Guaranteed security of Israel