And this is a moderate?

Letter: Australian Financial Review – 24 August 2011

Sari Nusseibeh’s “A Jewish rethink” (AFR, 19 August) is gravely disappointing from someone regarded as a pragmatic Palestinian moderate genuinely interested in peaceful co-existence with Israel.

It is understandable that he endorses J Street founder Jeremy Ben-Ami’s call for the US to impose a solution, although he fails to mention that the proposal he sets out – a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders with land swaps and a shared capital in Jerusalem – has three times been offered or accepted by Israel and on each occasion rejected by the Palestinians. Furthermore, the US imposing a solution on the Palestinians without their accepting they have no further claims will not bring genuine peace.

However, what is really disappointing is Nusseibeh’s suggestion that the answer may be a one state solution, in effect replacing the world’s sole Jewish state with yet another Arab state. Contrary to his assertion that Israel’s demographic expansion may make a two-state solution impossible, the settlements have only been growing within their existing borders. His claim that the Palestinians have never been more ready to resolve the conflict and the Israelis never less ready is easily disproved both by many opinion polls and the political facts.

While Israel is urging the Palestinians to negotiate, and has again indicated it accepts the principle of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines, the Palestinian Authority is steadfastly refusing to even negotiate. Instead, it is intending to take the confrontational step of unilaterally seek independence at the UN, in contravention of all the relevant Security Council resolutions, and the Oslo Accords under which the PA was established.

Jamie Hyams

A slightly edited version of this letter appeared in the Australian Financial Review, 24 August 2011.