With all due respect to my friend Larry Lerner who is usually meticulous with the facts, he is wrong on a number of counts (“Mr. Prime Minister, why are you waiting?” May 10. He errs badly when he suggests that Prime Minister Netanyahu “had refused to enter into to meaningful negotiations with the PA…because the PA did not include Hamas and therefore could not speak for the problems of Gaza.”
Until the recent “reconciliation” between Hamas and Fatah, Netanyahu has all but begged President Abbas to come to the table almost weekly. Ever since the issue of settlements was raised by President Obama, Abbas recognized he had an excuse not to negotiate a peace settlement with Israel but rather to take the unilateral approach to “statehood” and avoid the hard decisions both the Palestinians and Israel will have to make if peace is ever to come to this troubled region. However, when Hamas, still mourning the death of Osama Bin Laden, calls for the “end of the Zionist enterprise” and maintains — even as a part of any Palestinian government, that it will never take part in any peace negotiations — will never recognize Israel’s right to exist, and insists on the right to continue its “armed struggle” (read “terror”), to put the onus on Israel and its Prime Minister for the failure of negotiations is ludicrous.
Secondly, the suggestions that “most of the issues of a comprehensive plan have been agreed to by the parties” is nonsense. Such a plan was proposed at Camp David under President Clinton and Yasser Arafat said “no.” The plan was further fleshed out at Taba months later and Arafat said “no.” From Wikileaks and other sources we know that essentially the same offer was made by then Prime Minister Olmert to Abbas who said, in effect, “I’ll get back to you.” He never did and never has.
Thirdly, the article states that “security issues, the right of return, water and air rights are, seemingly no longer a problem.” Nothing could not be farther from the mark. Just last week, on “Nakba Day” Abbas declared that the Palestinians will never give up their right of return and dismissed out of hand any concept of an Israeli security presence in any future Palestinian state.
Finally, the assertion that “the big issue is territory” is correct in only one sense. The territory in question is Israel, whether within 1967 borders or otherwise, and it is that territory, the Jewish State, that the Arabs cannot accept. They couldn’t in 1947, couldn’t in 1967 before there was a single settlement, and they still cannot accept it today. That is the sad reality which with which we must live and which the article fails to recognize.
Givat Olga, Hadera, Israel