Newton’s gravity-free zone
Australian Palestine Advocacy Network vice-president Robert Newton offered up a series of red herrings in the Canberra Times (21/8) to justify why “Unless Israel stops the illegal construction of settlements in the West Bank there will be no resumption of negotiations which have been stalled since December 2010”.
Newton also claimed “it defies reality to think it reasonable that the Palestinians should agree to a resumption of talks while the other side continues to steal Palestinian land and embed itself even further in the territory where a future Palestinian state would be situated”.
Between 1993 and 2009 the Palestinian Authority (PA) did not insist on a settlements building freeze as a precondition to peace talks.
Furthermore, what really “defies reality” is why the PA spurned Israel’s unprecedented 10 months building freeze in 2009 and only agreed in the ninth month to attend negotiations – and then refused to discuss anything other than demanding the freeze be extended.
Leaving aside the fact that no new settlements have been built in more than a decade and all settlements take up less than two per cent of the West Bank, one would think that if the settlements truly were overwhelming the West Bank it might be in the PA’s interest to negotiate sooner rather than later.
Newton disingenuously asked – “one is left wondering what exactly a two-state solution would look like”.
Wonder no more, because former PM Ehud Olmert’s 2008 offer of most of east Jerusalem, and the equivalent of 100 per cent of the West Bank, is no secret.
The one-state solution is already a fact according to SBS TV travel show “Global Village” (26/8) which is narrated by Silvio Rivier.
A segment touting the charms of the northern Israeli port town of Acre/Akko claimed that “Acre is a port in Palestine, in Israel…a town shaped by the cross and the crescent”.
Whilst correctly noting that “the Egyptians, the Assyrians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Ptolemys, the Romans all came this far” and explaining the Hebrew origins of the word “Akko”, there was no mention that the port was a part of the Israelite kingdom, nor that it became Muslim and Arab after falling under the Muslim Caliph Umar’s control following his conquest of Jerusalem in the seventh century.
The piece ended with the flourish that as “one of the oldest cities on the world, Acre resembles a battleship of stone, perched on the coast of Palestine, of Galilee, of the Levant. A land now known as Israel”.
The ramifications of the Australian High Court’s rejection of the Hungarian government’s extradition request for Charles Zentai continued to be explored with the Canberra Times (20/8) editorial condemning Australia’s efforts on war crimes. It noted that “Australia is alone among western nations, in having failed to convict, denaturalise, deport, expel or extradite a single Nazi war criminal, and our record with Nazi collaborators from subject nations is hardly better… so savage and beyond human power to forgive were Nazi atrocities that the door will be closed only by death or impossibility”.