Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

Letter: Palestinian refusal the problem

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Sydney Morning Herald - 27 March 2015


Your editorial, "Benjamin Netanyahu ill-advised to dash peace hopes" (March 26), seems to assume that all that is needed for meaningful peace talks to proceed is for Israel to agree. However, recent history shows this is far from true.

In 2000, 2001 and 2008, Israel offered the Palestinians a state on terms regarded internationally, including by Arab countries, as generous. The Palestinians either refused or simply walked away. Since Netanyahu became prime minister in 2009, he has implemented the first moratorium on building in the settlements - a 10-month freeze on building of dwellings - released from jail 78 Palestinian terrorists guilty of murder, repeatedly stated publicly, and in negotiations, his support for a Palestinian state and shown flexibility in negotiations according to the US mediators.

The response from the Palestinian Authority has been to repeatedly refuse to negotiate the issues, to enter a partnership with the terrorist Hamas entity, which is committed to Israel's violent destruction, to use international forums such as the UN and International Criminal Court to try to pressure Israel for concessions without any Palestinian reciprocity, and continued to insist on the so-called right of return of millions of descendants of refugees, which would destroy Israel as a Jewish state.

This Palestinian intransigence and the rise of violent Islamism in the region are why Netanyahu justifiably said that circumstances would have to change for a Palestinian state in peace alongside Israel - an objective he still supports - to emerge, and why the Israeli electorate endorsed that position.

Colin Rubenstein

Executive Director
Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council
South Melbourne (Vic)


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