May 17, 2008 | Mark Leibler
MALCOLM Fraser’s opinion piece in last Saturday’s Age was marred by contradictions, factual errors and a naivete about world events inconsistent with the hard-nosed, realistic prime minister I knew in the 1970s and ’80s.
Mr Fraser implied that the problem in the Middle East is principally Israeli settlement building, and the main solution is direct Israeli talks with Hamas.
Yet Israel is not building any new West Bank settlements, and has not for many years. The current controversy involves a few hundred apartments within a few existing settlements, taking no additional land. It is absurd to see these few homes as the principal roadblock. After all, Israel withdrew all settlements from Gaza in 2005 and has been rewarded with rocket attacks.