This is cross posted by Chas Newkey-Burden at OyVaGoy
An editorial in today’s Observer [cross posted at The Guardian] presents Israel as the obstacle to peace in the Middle East and Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority as the ones making all the moves. Indeed, it argues that “successive” Israeli prime ministers have refused to sincerely engage and negotiate with the Palestinians.
Successive Israeli prime ministers refusing to negotiate? Well, let’s look at the record of the three that preceded the current administration…
Ehud Barak (1999-2001) offered Yasser Arafat an extraordinary package including around 97 per cent of the territories, the majority of the Old City and east Jerusalem, and $30 billion compensation for the refugees.
His offer was refused by Arafat.
Ariel Sharon (2001-2005) withdrew from Gaza, and was considering withdrawing from the West Bank, before his reign ended when he suffered a stroke.
The Gaza withdrawal was responded to with thousands of rockets fired into Israel.
Ehud Olmert (2006-2009) offered Mahmoud Abbas 93.5 to 93.7 per cent of the territories, along with a land swap of 5.8 per cent and a safe-passage corridor from Gaza to the West Bank. Under his offer the Old City of Jerusalem would be administered by a consortium of Saudis, Jordanians, Israelis, Palestinians and Americans. There would also have been (limited) return of refugees.
His offer was refused by Abbas
As for Netanyahu, it is too early to tell what will happen. But during his first reign as Prime Minister, (1996-1999) he negotiated with Yasser Arafat, signed the Wye River accords and handed most of Hebron to the Palestinians.
So The Observer could hardly be more misleading. Its editorial warns, with typical colonial-liberal pomposity, that if Israel continues to refuse to negotiate that it will become “an international pariah”. If that ever does become the case, it will not be because of intransigence on the part of Israel. But it will be in part because of dishonest reporting such as in today’s Observer.