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Byron Shire
April 17, 2021

The problem has always been Jerusalem

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With respect to Danny Wakil (letters 31 July), his assertion that Palestinians haven’t made or honoured a single concession is another example of how unreliable his position is. How can anyone believe, even after mountains of evidence (cited in The Guardian and Der Spiegel), that Palestinians didn’t make ever more painful and significant concessions? Really?

In reality, the problem has always been Jerusalem. Even though the whole world (except Trump) recognises East Jerusalem as part of Palestine, Israel refuses to cede all but token areas.

Al Quds is the name Palestinians give to Jerusalem; it means ‘the holy’ and is the recognised capital of Palestine (Israel’s capital is Tel Aviv). ‘The holy’ is the heart of the Palestinian nation. We have shown in negotiations our willingness (actually eagerness) to share the holy city along established east and west Jerusalem lines, but that was consistently rejected by Israel and is the main reason early negotiations failed.
The real reason that the last two decades of negotiations have failed is that there is no real will among the Israeli leadership or the general Israeli population. No major political party within Israel supports peace along internationally recognised borders. If we were to put a peace proposal based on the consensus UN position to the peoples of the holy land, less than 20 per cent of Israeli Jews would support it, whereas upwards of 95 per cent of Palestinians would wholeheartedly support it.

Sadly, Israelis, driven by ultra-nationalist leaders and hawkish pro-war media, have embraced the mindset of racial superiority needed to steal land and dispossess people rather than make peace with their weak and almost defenceless neighbours. In a recent poll conducted by Israel’s Channel 10, only 20 per cent of Israeli Jews rejected this statement ‘Most Jews are better than most non-Jews because they were born Jews’. The majority agreed with the statement. 

The peace offer on the table from the Palestinian side is to have a completely demilitarised Palestine with UN peacekeepers, for Israel to keep all but four settlements, and the largest concessions on Jerusalem ever given.

Israelis and Palestinians are equally human and deserve equal human rights


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10 COMMENTS

  1. What a load of historically inaccurate hogwash. There is no such nation state or kingdom as Palestine. Palestine is an Arab fiction originally created by the Romans as an administrative province then resurrected by the English when they liberated the region from the ottomans. Those villagers left behind in the area had been there as occupiers since the Bible times post the era of Jesus when after an unsuccessful uprising against Rome by the Jews, the first genocide of Jews by a gentile state. The Jews were driven out of their land and a few hundred years later the region was invaded by Muslims who occupied it under various caliphates until 1915 when the British took it off them
    Jerusalem wasn’t built by Muslims and they have never had a legitimate claim to any of it. It was called The city of David, a Jewish king for centuries.

    • Paul Check you history. This area has always been subject to invasion and take-over (well before the Romans). In fact the Jews (after leaving Egypt) took it from the people that were there before them. There were several invasions of the area and disbursement of Jews prior to the Romans such as Babylonians. Furthermore, for a long time Judah and the city of Jerusalem was separate from Israel. The ancient capital of Israel was Samaria.

      • Wrong. samaria was an independent kingdom to judah. In any case if what you say is correct so what? The jews have returned to their ancient lands and taken them back. Why is that suddenly not acceptable in relation to your potted history of the creation of states and kingdoms?

        • Paul,

          I did not say Samaria was part of Judah. I said Judah was an independent from Israel. Samaria was the capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 9 and 8 Century BC. I am not wrong.

  2. Paul, do you know how states are born? let’s take Israel as an example.

    It declares independence, gets accepted by the UN and the majority of the world and, hey presto: it is a state – that’s how it works.

    Well, in exactly the same way, Palestine declared independence, got accepted by the UN and the majority of the world, and very unsurprisingly it is also a state.The declaration was in 1988, and today 140 countries around the world recognize Palestine and so it is a state.

    The diplomats of the world have heard these ancient arguments before from Israel, and they voted against them. Imagine if all the peoples of the world tried to enforce claims to land from 2,000 or 3,000 years ago. What a bloody mess that would be, possibly many hundreds of wars and occupations. It is just not how nations work. They work on different peoples’ need for self-autonomy – freedom.

    Hundreds of generations of people living in the holy land, all of them deserve equal human rights and freedom. That’s the way to peaceful nations. Israel should give all Palestinians the vote and equal rights, or it should end its occupation and let those it refuses to make citizens have freedom.

    Israel is a state, and Palestine is a state – therefore Israel is a belligerent occupier of another state.

    You think what happened 3000 years ago is somehow the most important thing about what is happening now? and even supersedes the UN and the human rights of millions of children who just happen to be born the wrong religion?

    To carry out Israel as the Jewish-ethnic state, controlling all of Palestine, then anyone non-Jewish born in the holy land doesn’t deserve or get nearly the same rights as anyone else born in the holy land – that my friend is institutional bigotry and racism and as a system is called apartheid.

    You are arguing for Apartheid! Did you even stop to think about what the millions of non-Jews should do? Stop breathing, or just live as racial inferiors forever?

    • Palestine has never been a state. it has no Constitution, it has no real flag except the one stolen from the . It has no government and has no parliament or other form of democratically elected administration. gaza is ruled by a terrorist organisation which gives the locals absolutely no rights except the one to kill jews. There is no Palestine, never was. It is a Roman confection and a British idea used to denote an administrative area. The idea of a Palestinian state started with the terrorist Yasser Arafat who was born in Cairo. the people calling themselves Palestinians are Arab muslims mostly or some Christian ones. Israel as the longest claim tot he area and they have reclaimed it int he name of the Jewish people again. Another aspect of this crazy story perpetrated by arabs is that the Jews invaded the area before and after WWII. in fact the p[lace was mostly empty except for some poverty stricken and neglected villages owned by absentee Arab landlords who gladly sold the land they deemed as worthless to the Israelis who made it bloom and prosper, as prophesied in the Bible. Any Arab /muslim living in Israel can run for parliament and become a representative of their people. There are plenty of them already. The idea of a separate state is actually Apartheid. the relaity is that teh Muslims want to dominate the area absolutely and exterminate the Jews as they have said on several occasions. The hatred of the Jews is not simply borne out of the fact they have returned to their ancestral land but in the long standing anti Jewish hatred within Islam which started all the way back in Medina when Mohamed ordered the slaughter of the Jews living there. trying to discount that fact and several others in relation to the underlying religious motivation for demonising the Jews in Israel is typical of the semi educated clap trap you people spout whenever you get the chance. In most cases it is simply regurgitated Muslim propaganda dressed up as humanitarianism. What is really strange is how you all concentrate on the Israelis while all over the Arab Muslims world the people of their own nations live in poverty and oppression under the iron fist of tyrants as we see in Gaza, Libya, Lebanon, Iran Brunei, Malaysia where Islams rules and no other people are permitted to even enter the political arena let alone have rights of any kind. Why is that? is it because Israel is a soft target and there are few consequences when you do voice criticisms of the place? how come you are all so silent on the injustices we see all over the Muslim world???

  3. If the Palestinians want a state they have one in Jordan. Jerusalem happens to be the holy indivisible capital of the state of Israel that is mentioned 661 times in the Old Testament while Jerusalem is not even mentioned once in the Quran. The Muslim quest for Jerusalem is based on greed and religious incitement.

  4. If you don’t want to include the past in deciding who has right over land then by that convenient logic any claims made on that basis, including those made by the so called Palestinian people should also be ignored. Similarly any made by Aboriginal people should also be treated the same.

  5. The comments on this page from supporters of Zionist Israel epitomise the racist, genocidal nature of Zionist ideology. Referring to the Palestinians as “so-called” is a blatant expression of genocidal ideation, implying that Palestinians do not actually exist as a distinct group, and expressing the intention for that outcome. This is the very definition of genocide, look it up.

  6. Sometimes called the “Arab papers” by Israelis

    The Palestine Papers by the Jewish Virtual Library – https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-palestine-papers
    Wiki – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestine_Papers

    It is a large document.

    Good article about the leaks in the Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/jan/23/palestine-papers-expose-peace-concession

    Here is a video of the main points as acted word for word, played by actors. Also in-depth analysis.

    https://www.aljazeera.com/palestinepapers/

    If you would like to know what actually happened in the negotiation, read the document, the analysis or watch the video.

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