Thursday, February 3, 2011

Recently leaked documents confirm Israel the main obstacle to peace in the Middle East

Peace concessions made by the Palestinian Authority to Israel in private went far beyond any that were revealed in public. Leaked documents recently published by Al-Jazeera show just how far. Behind the scenes Palestinian negotiators offered to let Israel annex all except one of the settlements that it built in East Jerusalem - an area occupied by Israel during the 1967 war - and to limit the right of return for Palestinian refugees driven off their land at the time Israel was formed to 100,000 - only a tiny fraction of the total number of Palestinian refugees scattered around the Middle East who could reasonably claim a right to return.

If anyone believes the concessions were insignificant, consider this: Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, issued a statement at the time the concessions were first leaked saying that the disclosure would put his life in jeopardy. And just a few weeks later cheif Palestinian negotiato Saeb Erekat resigned from the role as a result of the leaks.

Apparently Israel didn't think they were all that significant, though. It rejected them outright.

That begs the question. If such profound compromises on the part of the Palestinians aren't adequate then what in the hell would be? The fact is Israel cares little what the Palestinian position is when it comes to a final peace settlement, as evidenced by its continued expansion of settlements on illegally occupied Palestinian land. It has its own uncompromising, unilateral, take-it-or-leave-it vision of peace and that's that.

The problem is the arrogant Israeli vision of peace isn't, and never will be, acceptable to the Palestinian side or its Arab League allies, nor should it be.

It takes two parties at the negotiating table willing to negotiate to achieve a lasting peace settlement. Israel's arrogance means there's currently only one - the Palestinian side - reaffirming once again that the biggest obstacle to peace in the Middle East is the state of Israel.

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