Monday, November 13, 2006


Daniel Mandel, in an opinion piece published in today's Melbourne Age states that "ISRAEL STILL HAS NO GENUINE PEACE PARTNER".

The question is still being asked - "what is a peace partner"?

We all might have different answers to that question but Mandel makes a good point when he says that "... to this day, both Fatah and Hamas, which together command the support of the overwhelming majority of Palestinians, call in their respective charters for Israel's destruction, while Hamas goes one further and calls for Jews to be murdered ... ".

The Palestine Authority on the other hand did purport to amend the Palestine National Charter some years ago but never got around to producing the new wording which was supposed to accept Israel's right to self-determination.

All of that became pretty well irrelevant after Hamas was elected to govern the Palestinians and its leaders have confirmed on a number of occasions that Hamas would never grant recognition to Israel.


gulliver_on_tour said...

There have been some interesting letters to the Age in the last couple of days.

Going in to bat for the terrorists
ANTONY Loewenstein loses all credibility when he says that recent events in Beit Hanoun constitute a "massacre" and that the result has been "Hamas calling for revenge" with a "justified militancy" ("A country lost in its own region", Opinion, 10/11).
Obviously, Loewenstein is unaware that Hamas has been calling for Israel's destruction since 1988, while seeing suicide bombers who indiscriminately and intentionally target civilians as somehow "justified militancy" is absolutely hypocritical and appalling.

Loewenstein should look at the hideous nature of a Palestinian culture that promotes death and destruction before deciding to criticise Israel, which is doing its best to fight terrorists while protecting civilians, both Israeli and Palestinian.

Philip Ioannou, Sydney

Speaking plainly
THANK goodness The Age allows Antony Loewenstein to speak plainly about the entrenched brutality, hypocrisy and corruption of Israeli politics and governance, and the regrettable double standards Western leaders and media apply to the opposed adversaries of the Middle East's most enduring conflict.

At least Loewenstein will only be called a "self-loathing Jew". Anyone else (from a non-Jewish background) would potentially face accusations of being "anti-Semitic racists".
Peter Kartsounis, Footscray

Let's call a truce in the blame game
WHEN Daniel Mandel (Opinion, 13/11) pointed out there are two chief approaches to the Arab-Israeli conflict — one seeing the Israeli occupation as causal, and the other seeing Arab violence against Israel as causal — I had false hopes that he was about to reveal a third way through the impasse. Instead, he offered yet another boring rendition of the "blame the Arabs" party line.
Perhaps Mandel could have gone back a little further with his causality model and acknowledged that the Arab hatred of Israel was understandable, given the violent way the state of Israel was established. Having admitted that, he could have moved to the present and said that, on the other hand, Israel is now a legitimate state and it is unacceptable for current Israelis to live in the shadow of the threat of extermination. Call it a truce in the blame game if, you will.

Once we apportion blame equally and leave causality behind, we can then see the absurdity of the current situation: Israel's powerful allies have given one of the two "guilty parties" (Israel) the job of policing a dispute in which it shares equal blame. Could one contrive to think of a more foolish solution to a violent disagreement?

The commonsense answer is for a third party to be brought in to ensure the suicide bombers and rockets are kept out of Israel, and Israeli tanks, brutality and checkpoints are kept out of Palestine. It is blight on both parties concerned and the rest of us looking on that common sense rarely even enters what is increasingly a childish debate.

Hayden Bland, Seoul, South Korea

Dialogue of the deaf

NEITHER Daniel Mandel nor Antony Lowenstein (Opinion, 10/11) make any useful contribution to the debate on the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Their one point of agreement is summed up in the mantra: "there is no partner for peace" — an expression not of reality, but of the hopeless intransigence that permeates the debate between angry people.

Mandel's summation is that "if Israel one day prevails on Palestinians to relinquish their goal of its elimination, successful peace talks will ensue". Recognising that neither side is capable of "prevailing" over the other might introduce a dose of reality into empty words.

The task of those who want to usefully contribute to the debate is to convince the decision makers on their own side that real concessions must be made.

Harold Zwier, Elsternwick

There's an interesting cross section of views there apart from the childishly paranoid Kartsounis who doesn't understand that you don't get called a self loather or an anti-semite unless that's what you really are. He tries to make the same facile point every time he puts pen to paper and the Age accepts this nonsense and publishes it every time.

brenda said...

I agree with most of what you say gulliver, particularly the idiot Peter Kartsounis whose not worth wasting space on.

I do have a problem with Mr. Bland's statement that "Perhaps Mandel could have gone back a little further with his causality model and acknowledged that the Arab hatred of Israel was understandable, given the violent way the state of Israel was established."

Surely, he's going a mite too far in trying to be even handed!

After all, Israel was only established "violently" because five well trained and well equipped Arab armies decided to attack the Jews in what the Arab League called a "war of extermination".

Don't these people study their history before they jump into their letter writing?

More importantly, doesn't the Age letters editor ever check what's published for accuracy?