Letter: Ignoring the facts on Israel-Palestine issue

An edited version of this letter was published in
Australian Financial Review – 26 August 2014

David Rothkopf is deluding himself if he thinks that it is only Israeli intransigence that has prevented the establishment of a Palestinian state (“A High Price”, AFR, August 22).

An in-depth report by Ben Birnbaum in the New Republic on the recent failure of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace initiative showed that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had agreed to accept the US formula of a Palestinian state based on pre-1967 boundaries with minor, mutually agreed, land swaps.

Unfortunately, as happened in 2000, 2001 and 2008 when Israel made offers of Palestinian statehood for peace, at the pointy end of the recent talks Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas took his bat and ball and went home.

For whatever reason, Rothkopf seems unaware of these basic but key facts, instead implying that Israel’s main goal is to prevent a Palestinian state at all costs.

Moreover, even as Rothkopf acknowledges that Hamas’ stated goal is “the destruction not only of Israel but of all Jews”, he is so consumed by his certainty that Israel is intent on blocking a Palestinian state that he insists the current war should be seen as a perverted popularity contest on the world stage rather than an effort to stop a murderous aggressor.

Ostensibly accepting that Israel has a right to defend itself from rocket attacks, as Rothkopf does, but then adding so many caveats as to make it meaningless, is a sure fire way of damaging Israel’s ability to accept a Palestinian state for fear of facilitating Hamas’ genocidal ambitions.

Allon Lee
Policy Analyst
Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council