The Age on Palestine

I don’t like the Age editorials. I usually don’t read them. Anyway, they write:

If settlement activity continues, Israel will have no peace partner.

SINCE before the foundation of the state of Israel, it has been evident that the best chance of resolving the Middle East’s longest-running conflict lies in the creation of a separate Palestinian state living peaceably alongside its Jewish neighbour. That recognition led to the original UN proposal for partition of the mandate territory of Palestine in 1947, and was at the heart of the Oslo Accords negotiated by then Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO chairman Yasser Arafat in 1993. [No it wasn’t, Oslo didn’t mention it at all] Since then a Palestinian state has failed to materialise, the prospect that one might be created has steadily receded and Palestinian discontent has mounted accordingly. But the official Palestinian leadership has not repudiated the goal – until, perhaps, now.

They go on to claim: “Hamas, the Islamist party that won the previous Palestinian elections in 2006 and forcibly wrested control of the Gaza Strip from the PA”. Presumably, they think Fatah controlled Gaza.

Bravely, they write:

Such a one-state solution appeals to many Palestinians because they know that within a decade there will be an Arab majority in the lands between the Mediterranean and Jordan. If Israel were to refuse equal citizenship to this majority it would no longer be a democracy, and the apartheid state it is sometimes accused of being would have become a reality.

In a way, this is a courageous thing to write. But at the same time, it’s not. Firstly, Israel already rules over millions of Arabs who do not have equal citizenship (in fact, millions without citizenship, and about 1.3 million with unequal citizenship within Green Line Israel). Even Olmert has said things like this. It’s a measure of Australian docility that years after the Israeli prime minister says something like this, the papers can say something similar. They go on to urge negotiations or whatever with Abbas: not the leadership the Palestinians elected.



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