US President Barack Obama, as part of the Middle-East peace speech on Thursday, called for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, which would be based on the 1967 accords.

However, Israel would stand to lose on several counts if they were to comply, territorially and politically.

Post-1967, Israel has been constantly changing the territorial markers, especially in the West Bank.

Giving up the West Bank?

The Government of Israel insists on keeping the major settlements that they have been rapidly expanding over the last few decades in the West Bank.

Along with Jerusalem, the places in the West Bank, such as Hebron and Nablus have been of religious importance to the Jews. As a result, many traditional and rabbinical families have encroached on the West Bank since 1967, despite it being Palestinian territory. Currently, over 500,000 Israelis live in the 121 settlements across the West Bank.

If Israelis were to go back to the proposed borders, they would have to freeze and demolish all existing settlements. They would then have to re-settle the Jews who are currently living in the West Bank.

One of the big losses if Israel rolls back to the 1967 borders will be the division of Jerusalem. The Israeli government is unwilling to divide its capital city of Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Law, which was passed by the Knesset on July 30, 1980, makes the “holy city” Israel’s capital.

However, the Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine as well. East Jerusalem was in control of Jordan before 1967.

West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem ) East JerusalemGaza StripGolan Heights
Occupation period1967-present1967-present1956-1957, 1967-2005 (disputed)1967-present
Claimed byJordan (1967-1988), Palestinians (1988-present)Jordan (1967-1988), Palestinians (1988-present)Egypt (1967-1979), Palestinians (1979-present)Syria

Israel considers it part of its territory

NoYes, by the Jerusalem LawNoYes, by the Golan Heights Law
Israeli settlementsYesYesYes, but evacuated in 2005Yes

Political losses

Consequently, Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government will have much to lose. They have always held that the 1967 borders are “not defensible” and the Palestinian state must not come at Israel’s expense.” The Likud party will lose political face if the current borders are rolled back.

Furthermore, Israel has always refused to give territorial sovereignty to Palestine but if it grants them the 1967 borders, it will be forced to recognize a Palestinian state.

Since Palestine lacks territory, Israel has control over most of the disputed land. However, if Israel has to go back on the borders, it will lose what they perceive as a hold over the region.

External losses
Israeli government is afraid that giving up the land will increase the Hamas presence in the region. For that reason, Israel insists that it keeps a large security control over the bordering areas of the Jordan Valley. It also demands that the state of Palestine should be largely demilitarized. Also, if Israel concedes territorially to Palestine, it will receive similar demands from its other neighbors. Syria, for example, will demand complete control over Golan Heights, which it lost to Israel in the 1967 war.

Two-state solution

Unless Israel goes back to the 1967 borders, it will be hard for any negotiations to move forward. However, there can be no two-state solution unless Israel gives Palestine its territorial sovereignty. This can happen only when Israel agrees to the 1967 borders.