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Letter: Ill-conceived motion

Sep 7, 2015 | Colin Rubenstein

THE WEEKEND AUSTRALIAN 
SEPTEMBER 5, 2015 

Ill-conceived motion

Wendy Turner writes in defence of the Queensland Labor Conference motion to recognise a Palestinian state (Letters, September 3). This motion, however, is one-sided, ill-conceived and counter-productive. Motions such as this are actually detrimental to the cause of Middle East reconciliation, because rather than promoting negotiations and understanding between the sides, they encourage the Palestinians to believe that they can achieve their state without making the compromises necessary for a genuine peace. To be useful, the motion should address rather than encourage the Palestinian intransigence that has seen them refuse to accept three generous Israeli offers of statehood and now refuse to even negotiate, rather than leveling a litany of false and pejorative accusations against Israel.

Turner justifies the motion by citing a fictitious supposed increase in Israeli settlements. In reality, no new settlements have been built since 1999 and existing settlements have not been allowed to expand beyond their boundaries under policies in place since 2003. Statistics show there has been a decrease, not an increase, in construction in settlements in recent years, and even the Palestinians admit settlements take up less than two per cent of the West Bank. In addition, the vast majority of settlers live in blocs it is generally accepted Israel will retain as part of land swaps in any peace deal.

To claim settlements are a reason to recognise a Palestinian state that doesn’t yet exist , in a way that makes an actual peace deal creating a genuine Palestinian state less likely, reflects either extraordinary ignorance or extraordinary bias.

Colin Rubenstein
Executive Director
Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council
South Melbourne, Vic

 

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