When Ehud Barak proposed to “jump” to final status negotiations in 1999, he consolidated the settlements Israel sought to retain into “blocs,” leaving the more isolated and less strategic ones vulnerable to dismantling. Thus, instead of dealing with 200 settlements, Barak had only to negotiate the annexation of seven settlement blocs: (1) the Jordan Valley Bloc; (2) the Ariel Bloc that divides the West Bank east and west and preserves Israeli control over the Territories largest water aquifer; (3) the Modi’in Bloc, connecting the Ariel settlements to Jerusalem; a “Greater Jerusalem” consisting of (4) the Givat Ze’ev Bloc to the northwest of the city, (5) the expansive Ma’aleh Adumim bloc extending to the northeast and east of Jerusalem and (6) the Etzion Bloc to the southwest; and (7) a corridor rising from the settlements in the south to incorporate the Jewish community of Hebron. While the extent of these settlements blocs is to some extent subject to negotiations, their function, however, is to further define and divide the Palestinian cantons. Representing some 25% of the West Bank, their annexation to Israel has been approved by the US in the bi-lateral Bush-Sharon Exchange of Letters in April 2004. (Within the settlement blocs are depicted both the settlements themselves and the master plans that surround and extend them.)


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