Rekindling an Israel-Palestine peace process

 

Sir, – Your Editorial praising the Irish Government’s attempts to start a new Middle East peace process ignores the elephant in the room ( February 20th).

In 1947 the Palestinian Arabs rejected the UN’s partition resolution that called for two states, one Jewish and one Arab, in the lands then controlled by the British. The Jewish inhabitants supported the UN’s two-state plan but were then attacked by Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon resulting in the1948 Arab-Israeli War.

Bill Clinton held peace talks in 2000 between Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Ehud Barak, Israel’s then prime minister. Barak accepted Clinton’s peace plan but Arafat, despite winning huge Israeli concessions, didn’t and subsequently launched a terror campaign against Israeli civilians, the so-called Second Intifada.

In 2008 Israel’s prime minister Ehud Olmert presented a comprehensive peace plan to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas that would have created a Palestinian state on 97 per cent of the West Bank. Abbas rejected Olmert’s peace deal. The Palestinian political elite seems to have no real interest in making peace with Israel. – Yours, etc,

KARL MARTIN,

Bayside Dublin 13.

Sir, – Just as America can no longer be seen to be an honest broker in helping to re-start Israel-Palestine peace talks (Editorial, February 20th) so too Ireland can no longer now be seen to be an honest broker.

Although Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney claims that it is his aim to help re-start such talks – a laudable aim of course – it would seem to be a very peculiar way to go about this by announcing to the media last September that should such peace talks fail Ireland would then be “forced” to recognise the state of Palestine.

The Israelis will no doubt have regarded that particular announcement not only as a threat that cack-handedly contradicts the role of any honest broker, but also showing that Ireland is already preparing to blame Israel should such talks fail, even months before such possible talks have actually taken place.

Coupled with the Oireachtas’s recent passing of the Occupied Territories Bill – something which they have already regarded as being anti-Israeli, and even worse, anti-Semitic – how on earth can Ireland realistically still think it will be seen by the Israelis to be an impartial mediator? – Yours, etc,

IVOR SHORTS,

Rathfarnham,

Dublin 16.