Ariel (city) - Political Status

Political Status

Like other settlements in the Israeli-occupied territories, Ariel is considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this. A series of Israeli governments has insisted that Ariel be included within Israel's future borders under any future peace treaty. The Israeli Ministry of the Interior gave the municipality of Ariel the status of a city council in 1998. In January 2010, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accompanied by leading figures in his governing coalition, declared Ariel the "capital of Samaria", and an integral part of Israel. In December 2010, thirty-five MKs petitioned the government to annex Ariel to Israel. Palestinian representatives have opposed the incorporation of Ariel into Israel in any future settlement, arguing that the Ariel 'finger' would interrupt the territorial integrity of a Palestinian state and includes a major aquifer. Ariel's future is thus not clear: "as well as an obstacle to an Israeli-Palestinian agreement, it could also serve as a crucial trade-off for negotiators hammering out a final deal."

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