Saturday, August 25, 2012

Letter of the week

A couple of days ago in the Canberra Times

Palestinians at fault

Robert Newton (''Moving towards a just solution'', August 21, p11), stretches credulity by insisting that the Palestinian leadership cannot be expected to negotiate while building occurs within long-established settlements likely to be incorporated into Israel should a peace treaty ever be signed. Unfortunately, settlements are a handy smoke screen, masking Palestinian unwillingness to renew negotiations and to accept the painful compromises needed to end the conflict.

Indeed, settlements cover less than 2 per cent of the West Bank and that amount is not growing under Israeli policies in place for almost a decade.

Moreover, between 1993 and 2009 the Palestinians never insisted on a settlements building freeze as a precondition to negotiation. In 2008 Israel offered most of east Jerusalem, the equivalent of 100 per cent of the West Bank, and a resolution to the refugee issue, seemingly everything demanded of Israel. The Palestinian leadership never even bothered to respond, let alone offer its own plan.

Bill Arnold, Chifley

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