Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

Media Week - Fraser Strikes Again; Wakim's Rant; Perspective on Gilo

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Fraser Strikes Again

There has once again been a plethora of pieces about the Palestinian statehood bid at the UN. Probably the most misguided was by Malcolm Fraser in the Age (4/10). Dismissing as "thin" the sensible argument that agreement should come through negotiations, he disturbingly claimed that Western opposition to the Palestinian bid was "because of the lock that Israel has over the policies of too many Western countries." His "two major stumbling blocks to peace" were not Palestinian intransigence, but Palestinian division and "the expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank, the daily diminution of what might become Palestine." In fact, building in settlements since 2003 has only been within the existing settlement boundaries, so there has been no diminution of land. 

The most disappointing aspect was Fraser's defence of the terrorist group Hamas. He claimed that the West refusing to talk to Hamas "forced Hamas back to the weapons it had known too long". In fact, it was Hamas' commitment to violence and rejection of Israel that caused its isolation. He also claimed that its rocket attacks caused "little damage" compared to Israel's "retribution" and that the main effect is "the propaganda weapon that it provides Israel." In his conclusion, he claimed that the lack of peace was due "to the determination of Israel and its closest friends to make sure that nothing is done that Israel does not support." Nowhere was there any mention of Israel's offers of a Palestinian state. No wonder in his article responding in the following day's Age, Isi Leibler accused Fraser of "numerous demonstrable falsehoods", which he rebutted.

Wakim's Rant

Joe Wakim, who had a piece in defence of the murderous Syrian regime in the Courier Mail (29/9) wrote on the Palestinian bid in the Canberra Times (7/10), his diatribe demonstrating the depths to which opinion pieces in the Canberra Times can sink. He characterised the US opposition to the statehood bid as "abus[ing] its super power to sustain the suffering of the Palestinians." Then he claimed that this was a result of it "being dictated to and even bullied" by "pro-Israel sponsors". He described the situation between Israel and the Palestinians as a "criminal catastrophe" and accused Israel of "seeking a Jewish state through ethnic cleansing and terrorist tactics." He stated that the Palestinians have "an inalienable right to statehood", but would seemingly deny the same inalienable right to Jews, endorsing "one secular state" rather than a two state solution.

Perspective on Gilo

Writing on the fuss about the Israeli announcement of housing in Gilo, the Australian's Greg Sheridan (6/10) noted, "Under every imagined scenario, Gilo would remain part of Israel, which makes new Israeli housing there less than crucial." He continued, "Of course, all the territorial considerations in the world pale into insignificance compared to the threshold question: can the Palestinian leadership ever embrace and enforce a peace that involves an end of claims and conflict, and a credible guarantee that Israel will not be attacked from within a future Palestinian state?"

Jamie Hyams

 

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