Israeli-Palestinian peace talks
Madam, – I hope this is the last time I find myself obliged to respond to unfounded allegations such as those in the Israeli counsellor’s letter to you (December 17th).
Israel is engaging in its usual strategy of giving an appearance of being willing to negotiate seriously with Palestinians, while continuing its colonising enterprise in Palestinian territory.
The late Israeli prime minister Rabin was assassinated in November 1995 because he refused to follow the steps of his predecessor Shamir, who said in June 1992 that he was willing to negotiate with the Palestinians for 10 years without giving them anything and, meanwhile, he would plant a half a million Jewish settlers on the West Bank to make the creation of a Palestinian state impossible.
Prime Minister Netanyahu, Shamir’s successor as leader of Likud, is one of his smartest students. He was elected in 1996 on a manifesto of destroying the Oslo agreement, which aimed to establish a Palestinian state by May 1999. In his political career, he has never recognised the Palestinians’ right of self determination. In January 2002, he told Jack Katznel of the Associated Press; “A Palestinian state must never be established”. The only time he mentioned the possibility of some kind of a Palestinian state was in a speech in June 2009, but it was as if this state was going to be established on the moon.
Prime Minister Barak’s offer in Camp David was found to be fake by former US president Jimmy Carter in his book “Palestine: Peace not Apartheid”.
More than 800 meetings were held between the Palestinians and the Israelis during Prime Minister Olmert’s tenure, but, except for some progress on the borders issue, nothing was achieved. The negotiations with him stopped because of the war crimes he committed during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in 2008/2009.
The philosophy of settlements was explicitly stated in a letter from Ariel Sharon to Winston S. Churchill III in 1973. He wrote: “We’ll make a pastrami sandwich of them. We’ll insert a strip of Jewish settlements in between the Palestinians, and then another strip of Jewish settlements right across the West Bank, so that in 25 years, neither the United Nations, nor the USA, nobody, will be able to tear it apart.”
When US president Bush looked at a map of the West Bank showing the 132 Israeli settlements and 100 outposts, inserted between the Palestinian towns and villages, he said it looked like “Swiss cheese”. Our experience as Palestinians of negotiating with Israel has convinced us that Israel isn’t serious about the creation of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders. Its real purpose is the creation of a Greater Israel incorporating large parts, if not all, of the West Bank into Israel. The planting of Jewish settlers in the West Bank, in order to lay claim to ever more territory there for incorporation into Israel, has a much higher priority for it than the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. Hence, its absolute refusal to halt settlement building for a mere 90 days, despite the offer of an enormous bribe by the US.
In the light of this, we Palestinians are seeking to get all UN states to recognise a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders. This campaign met with success earlier this month with the backing of Brazil, Argentina and other South American states.
Hopefully, European states will follow suit in the near future. – Yours, etc,