From Mr Jeremy Moodey
Sir, - In dismissing calls for the UK to recognise Palestinian
rights to their own state, your correspondent Dr Adrian Whitehall (
Letters, 5 June) makes factual errors.
I will pass over his misreading of Zechariah 12 and note, for
example, that Hamas is not the "ruling party" in the Palestinian
territories, only in Gaza. And Israel's unilateral withdrawal of
its illegal settlers from Gaza in 2005 was not a peace-loving act
as Dr Whitehall claims. Rather, it was almost immediately followed
by a blockade that, over the past ten years, has caused a
humanitarian catastrophe for the nearly two million Palestinian
inhabitants of Gaza, 60 per cent of whom are dependent on food aid,
and where unemployment is the highest in the world, according to a
recent World Bank report.
Perhaps most egregiously, Dr Whitehall recycles the myth that
Israel has regularly offered to exchange land for peace. It has
done no such thing. The "Olmert peace plan" of 2008 was
unacceptable to the Palestinians because it involved the annexation
to Israel of the main West Bank settlement blocs, and made no
concessions on Jerusalem as a shared capital. And it is, in any
case, highly doubtful that Olmert could have delivered on the
proposal, given the strength of the colonial-settler project inside
Israel's so-called "settlement freeze" of 2009 lasted less than
a year and applied only to new settlement development; existing
settlements in the West Bank and all settlements in East Jerusalem
were unaffected and continued to expand. Indeed, Israel's
commitment to an equitable peace with the Palestinians can be
measured by the fact that, since the Olmert "initiative" of 2008,
about a quarter of a million Jewish settlers have illegally set up
home in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Each new settler makes a two-state solution harder to achieve.
As one Israeli academic famously remarked of the current Israeli
Prime Minister: "Netanyahu is like a man who, while negotiating the
division of a pizza, continues to eat it." This is not the way to
achieve peace in Israel and Palestine.
Embrace the Middle East
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