Sunday, June 19, 2011

Israeli Intransigence

Rabin, Clinton and Arafat
I don't usually comment on the Palestinian / Israeli situation because there is more than enough blame to go around.  But in the face of positive changes in the Palestinian political situation, the Israeli move to the right, away from reconciliation, seems counterproductive.  In an OpEd in the Financial Times, Saeb Erekat, a Palestinian politician writes:
Israel is not interested in peace; it wants to maintain apartheid. The PLO recognised Israel back in 1993, in an exchange of letters between Yassir Arafat, the Palestinian president, and Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli prime minister. Eighteen years later, it is time for Israel to recognise Palestine.

In our vision for peace, Jerusalem will be a shared and open capital, and a Palestinian state will be framed by the internationally recognised 1967 border with minor modifications in our interest, and not to legitimate illegal settlements. We believe a just and agreed solution to the issue of refugees can be based on UN resolution 194, as stated in the Arab Peace Initiative. With these principles, we are prepared to return to negotiations.

Mr Netanyahu’s gamesmanship aside, we are pleased that Mr Obama recognised that Palestine must be based on the 1967 border. If Israel continues to choose colonisation over a two-state solution, we hope that the US will support our peaceful efforts to realise our national rights at the UN this September. As Mr Obama noted, the transformations taking place in the Middle East provide “a moment of opportunity”. We ask that this not be missed: it is truly an opportunity for Palestinians, Israelis, and world peace.

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