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There is a Palestinian Partner for Peace, Letter to Jewish Chronicle

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January 28, 2011 by happyhenry

Letter from Tony Klug, published (in edited form) in Jewish Chronicle, 28th January 2011

The incessant, ideologically driven, claims in your columns that there is no Palestinian support for a peaceful resolution of the conflict (letters, January 21) defy the evidence, including of successive opinion polls, that for years the majority of Palestinians (and Israelis as well) favour the creation of an independent Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza alongside the state of Israel.
 
The recent leaks show how much a desperate Palestinian leadership was prepared to concede to achieve this goal. But this policy originated as far back as 1988 when the Palestinians made their great historic compromise in agreeing to build their scaled-down state in the territories captured by Israel in June 1967, thereby relinquishing 78 per cent of the land they had previously claimed, a position reaffirmed by the PLO when it formally recognized Israel under the 1993 Oslo Accord.
 
As recently as last year, the Arab League, including the PLO, reiterated for the third time the unanimous 2002 Arab Peace Initiative that holds out the prospect of full peace and normalization of relations between every Arab country and Israel in exchange for Israeli withdrawal from the territories captured in 1967 and a just and “agreed” solution to the refugee problem, to take account of Israel’s concern regarding the demographic character of the Jewish state. Remarkably, the initiative implied that the Arab world stood ready in the future to recognize West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
 
Even the Hamas leadership, in a recent spate of articles, has shown a more pragmatic side in indicating its preparedness to do a deal based on the pre-June 1967 borders.
 
These positions of course cannot be taken at face value and need to be tested. And mutually agreed land exchanges would have to be part of any deal, as the PLO leadership has acknowledged. But the world is tired of Israeli excuses and exasperated by the continuing expansion of settlements in the miniscule territory of the putative Palestinian state. Defiant Israeli government policies are progressively isolating the Israeli state, besmirching the Israeli people, implicating Jews around the world and condemning us all to perpetual conflict. This is not what Israel was supposed to be about.

(Dr) Tony Klug, member of IJV Steering Group

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