Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

Letter: Palestinian state still viable

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Australian Financial Review - March 25, 2015

Robin Margo ("Settlements are expanding", AFR, Letters, March 24) appears to be relying on the claims of far-left Israeli organisations for his frankly disingenuous letter falsely alleging Jamie Hyams was wrong about Israeli settlements not expanding geographically.

Here are the facts. While the boundaries of the settlement blocs may not be defined, as Margo says, the boundaries of the individual settlements are precisely defined, and those have not expanded since 2004. While some unauthorised settlements were subsequently legalised, these were also built prior to 2004, and generally compensation was paid to the Palestinians for the land taken.

Overall, the settlements take up less than 2 per cent of the land area of the West Bank, and the vast majority of the building in settlements is occurring in areas it is generally agreed will be retained  by Israel in exchange for land swaps in any viable peace deal.

For all the controversy about construction in settlements, practically the exact same Palestinian state that was offered in 2000 and 2001 remains available today. Construction in settlements has not changed that reality in any substantive way, and that should be the focus for those genuinely concerned about a two-state resolution.


Dr Colin Rubenstein

Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council
South Melbourne, Vic


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