At the Oslo summit in October 1999, Ehud Barak rejected Yasser
Arafat's demand to freeze Jewish settlement during the final-status
negotiations. Though Yasser Arafat has declared himself "happy"
with the implementation of the Sharm el-Sheikh agreement, he added
that the peace process would lose momentum if settlement activity
and the confiscation of land do not come to a complete stop.
The fate of the land (in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem) is
the main bone of contention between Israelis and Palestinians even
before they start tackling complex issues such as Jerusalem, the
Palestinian refugees or final borders. In Palestinian eyes, all
Jewish settlements in the occupied territories which have been
under Israeli rule since 1967 are illegal: the Fourth Geneva
Convention (1948) explicitly forbids the settling of citizens of an
occupying power on occupied land. This view is shared by the
international community, but has been rejected by Israel for the
last 33 years. Israeli g
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