Palestinian leader addresses the Capital Jewish Forurm

August 8, 2011 by J-Wire Staff
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Dr Ghassan Khatib, the Special Envoy of the Palestinian Authority President,  last week addressed the Capital Jewish Forum in the Victorian Parliament House.

Dr Ghassan Khatib, Manny Waks & Izzat Abdulhadi

Dr Khatib spoke on ‘Statehood: Palestine and Israel’ and was introduced by Mr Izzat Abdulhadi, Palestinian Authority Head of Delegation to Australia.

CJF Founder and Executive Director, Manny Waks, told J-Wire: “Despite the short notice for this event, and the somewhat inconvenient time and venue, the turnout was very impressive. The community’s diverse views were represented at the event, which developed into a vigorous and passionate discussion, as expected.

I reiterate that the criticisms arising from some quarters condemning this event were unjustified and proved futile. I do not in any way anticipate the Australian Government will decide which way to cast their vote based on the platform the CJF provided to the PA’s Special Envoy.

The event provided many in the Jewish community the opportunity to engage in a stimulating discussion with the PA’s senior representatives. It was a great opportunity for us to hear directly from these representatives their perspective on some of the most complex, sensitive issues impacting Israel and the Jewish community, while simultaneously sharing with them our views on these issues.”

J-Wire publishes Dr Khatib’s address and the Q&A following in full:

Thank you very much, thank you for showing up for this meeting and giving me the opportunity to talk to you and to explain to you how we Palestinians look at the situations in the Middle East and the peace process conflict or however you would like to call it.


I suggested and my host agreed to speak for ten to fifteen minutes because I prefer to make most of this session a discussion and Q&A because I don’t want to bore you with detail that you might not be interested with, and I also want to get your sense of the situations and how you look at it from a far distance and I prefer to talk in details on things that might be of interest for you. Depending on the questions and comments that you will be making and this ten, fifteen minutes I will be explaining mainly why I’m here I am coming to Australia to do.


I am here to start off the Palestinian official initiative that is bringing several Palestinians to several parts of the world several countries. In order to convey specific messages to different governments that might be of interest in these situations in our part of the world. The main message I am trying to convey in Australia, which is similar to messages my other colleagues are conveying in other parts of the world is a message of urgency in the situations in the Middle East as far as the Palestinian-Israeli situations are concerned.

After my 10 to 20 years of continued bilateral negotiations we Palestinians, and I think Israelis as well, do not find ourselves much near to achieving the objectives of the peace process, whether it is the objective the Israelis are interested in such as peace and security or the objectives the Palestinians are interested in such as independence statehood handling of occupation etc. We might have our own ideas on why things did not move towards its destinations but other people, other countries might have their own views for that reason.

We believe that it is about time for the international community to have a serious look into the reasons why this peace process is not working, and to try to consider some new and fresh ideas into bringing back some life to the political process and to the prospects of making peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and for that reason the Palestinian Authority have decided to go the United Nations some time in the coming month, or few months, in order to try to achieve the specific objectives, and in general I can outline these objectives of three.

The first and the main objective is to try to ask the international community to have more direct and more effective (inaudible) in helping the Palestinians and Israelis achieving peace in the region. The reason is that we believe that one of the defects of this peace process is that it did not enjoy serious and effective support and attention by the international community that includes the fact that the international community failed into providing the peace process with agreed on terms of reference, in addition to guidance and supervision. The international community did not do its best to use its leverage on the two sides to convince them, pressurise them, do whatever it takes to help them achieving this normal objective.


The other objective is to try to ask the international community to recognise the right of the Palestinian people to achieve freedom, self-determination and independence, as we are already asking the international community, the individual members of the international community, to recognise bilaterally the right of the Palestinians of independence or, and to vote positively on a possible motion on the United Nation in this regard.


The third objective of our attempt to have such a discussion within the international community in the United Nation is to try to ask their help for a renewal of the meaningful of peace negotiations. Not the “we did not negotiate enough”. I think that we over-negotiated this conflict 19-20 years are not a short period. But we think that the international community is invited to help launching different kind of a peace process—a peace process that has specific and that has agreed on terms of reference, including negotiating a two-state solution on the borders of 1967, and also a peace process that would enjoy a different level and kind of attention by the United Nation of the international community, whether it is the Security Council, whether it is the GA, or whatever that can be decided by the international community.


The reason why we are doing that now in addition to the fact that 19 years of negotiations have not brought us near to our objectives is that these years were unfortunately were used sometimes into causing even deterioration in the situations, and I can refer to at least two kinds negative development that happened and still happening and have negative effects on the situations and on the prospects of peace in the future.


The first is the continued Israeli unilateral illegal activities in the Palestinian occupied territories of the kind that is violating the rights of the Palestinians, violating the international law, and more importantly, preempting the two-state solution, and I’m referring here particularly to the continued to the Israeli illegal settlement activities whereby the Palestinian land is being confiscated and the illegal Jewish settlements are being expanded.


Since the signing of the Oslo agreement, statistics, actually Israeli statistics, have shown that number of settlers have doubled and the size of settlements have also doubled. We believe that the continuity of such policy is not only jeopardising the rights of the Palestinians and making our life more difficult. But what is more important that such activities might make the two-state solution practically impossible because of the facts on the ground that are created, and eliminating the practical possibility of two states will eliminate the possibility of peace because the only peace that we can imagine, and the only peace that the two sides in principle, theoretically at least, agree on the only peace that the international community agrees on, is the peace that is based on two-state solution.


The other kind of negative changes is or are the changes in the two respective societies in terms of public opinion. In terms of internal politics we believe that the lack of progress in the peace process, and the continuity of the Israeli occupation, are leaving radicalisation effect on the two respective societies. On the Palestinian side, the failure of the Palestinian moderate leadership to deliver the peace and the freedom that we promised by peaceful and negotiation means have been undermining this leadership to the favor of the only opposition we have, which is the Islamist extremism, and we all together witnessed the election in which the opposition representatives were able to win the majority of the seats of the Palestinian Legislative Council.


The same is happening in Israel. Israel is also witnessing a systematic trends of radicalization. It is evident by the composition of the Israeli Government and it is evident by the public opinion as shown in the public opinion polls, and consequently the gap between the two sides have been widening and the prospects therefore for an agreement is getting less and less with time.


So time is not in our favour and the opportunities of peace are getting smaller and smaller because of way things are happing and because of the failure of the peace process to produce an agreement. That’s why we thought and we believe that leaving, continuing to leave, the Palestinians and the Israelis on their own to negotiate alone on their own, which has been the approach adopted by the international community, of course with influence of the United States, is not a good idea and it is time for the international community to step in and take up its responsibilities in helping the two sides reaching an agreement by using the (inaudible) of the different important members in the international community into that effort.


We think also that we have an additional (inaudible) that enables us to go with this demand to the international community because we have just completed successfully the implementation of  a two-year plan that aimed at building the institutions of the future Palestinian State, which is known internationally as (inaudible). This is a plan that enabled the Palestinian side to successfully fulfill all our obligations to the (inaudible) man, including our security obligations. It also enabled us to improve the standards of living of the Palestinian people and enabled us to prepare the official systems such as education, health, (inaudible) policing, etc. to be able to become institutions of an independent state.


In the last meeting of the international donors to the Palestinian Authority two months ago in Brussels, the IMF and the relevant UN institutions such as the UNDP and others have presented official reports that are available online testifying to the conclusion that the institutions of the Palestinian Authority are (inaudible) enough and mature enough to become institutions of an independent state, and that the level of performance of these institutions is similar of those of states that have been independent for tens of years.


On this basis and for these purposes we are hoping to conductive constructive, multi-lateral discussions in the United Nations with the hope that the international community will play more constructive, more direct, more effective role in helping both Palestinians and Israelis achieving the objectives of the peace process that both of us were unable to achieve so far. I stop here and I will be more than happy to get into the details of any aspect earlier that you would like me to concentrate on and I also welcome comments and views from your side.




Q&A session


Q: Between 1947-67 there was no real occupation of the West Bank by Israel, why was there no peace there at that point? What do you think were the issues?


In any peace process as a starter point, if the Palestinians were offered the Muslim Quarter of East Jerusalem, a mutual swap of Palestinian land along the West Bank compensation by Israel for people who have been displaced, is that a good start or what else do you see as the issue?


A: Well the first one and ill be quite frank with you. After the year ‘47 and until a little bit later than ’67, the Palestinian people in general were adopting a political program and demands that are different from current programs and demands. Palestinians at that time were calling for ending the existence of Israel and achieving a full return after a few years to Palestine. With time and because of different factors and reasons that are beyond the session that we are in, the Palestinians undertook lots of internal debates and discussions and arrived in the late 80s into new political platform based on willingness to compromise, the willingness to go for a solution that is based on dividing historical Palestine into two states, Israel and Palestine, on the basis of the 1967 borders. So I think that the idea of a Palestinian State in part of Palestine was not part of the political thinking of the Palestinians at that time.


There is a second probably reason, which is that the remaining parts of Palestine particularly, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, these two parts came under the control of both Jordan and Egypt, and whether we like it or not the Palestinians at that time did not have (inaudible) political leadership and unified political arrangements of the kind that would allow the Palestinians any unified political position anyhow. It was only after the war of 1967 when the Palestinian Liberation Organization (inaudible) all started to (inaudible) up graduate and reached a point in which it became able to claim that it represents the Palestinian people in different areas. So the absence of any (inaudible) political expression on behalf of the Palestinians probably was also another reason why nothing happened in that period.


We don’t have conditions such as these to return to negotiations and we are not against returning to negotiations. We cannot be accused of being reluctant to go back to negotiations because as I said we are usually accused of over-negotiating this conflict, 19 years of negotiation. I think that we want meaningful negotiations. We want negotiations of the kind that can be more productive than the previous ones and we believe we need probably three aspects to be available in order to make sure the next round of negotiations have higher chances of success.


The first one is to have agreed on terms of reference, including something like President Obama said 1967 as basis for negotiating the borders between the two states, which is something Israel is refusing to commit to. Second, time-frame for negotiations because it doesn’t make sense that we go into another open negotiations and, number three, it doesn’t make sense we negotiate as we did already the future of the territories at a time when Israel is actively changing the nature of these territories through the settlement expansion.


So all what it takes to guarantee negotiations with better chances of success is, one, to agree in advance on terms of reference especially of the borders of 1967, and to have a clearer role for the international community in trying to ensure the appearance to the terms of reference and to the international (inaudible) in these negotiations. As far as Jerusalem is concerned we don’t think that Jerusalem is different and Jerusalem is as illegally occupied, I mean East Jerusalem, as (inaudible) or as Ramallah.


So illegally speaking whatever happened to be to the eastern side of the borders, whether it is in Jerusalem or in Kalkiliah or (inaudible), it is supposed to be part of the Palestinian future state, and whatever religious or otherwise sides that happened to be on the western side of the border it is supposed to be under the sovereignty of Israel. We believe that political sovereignty should not be extended on religious basis. Religious freedom is supposed to be guaranteed whether religious (inaudible) happen to be for political and legal considerations and of the control of the Palestinian State or the Israel.


Having said that I also add, should add, that the Palestinian side is (inaudible) to live with a solution that would allow Jerusalem unified, provided that it become the capital for the two states, Israel and Palestine. Compensation only is not a sufficient solution to the refugees problem.


Q: Thank you very much for your presentation and I’m very pleased that this discussion is taking place. What I would like to know is with this diplomatic initiative what do you, in terms of the UN, how will the UN, you’re talking about General Assembly or the Security Council, what sort of decision-making process and what indications do you have at the moment that the international community will vote in favor of your declaration and where does Australia stand in this at the moment? If you could comment on that. Is the Arab League fully supportive? Is the Soviet Union, is China…Russia I mean not Soviet Union?


A: There is still no answer to the first part of your question because what exactly we are trying to do in the United Nation is not finalised yet, and one of the reasons is that in these visits to different countries we are not only conveying our messages and complaining and asking for increasing international involvement, we are also trying to get the feedback from these countries and we are trying to consult from these countries and seek their advice. After this we are going to have an assessment and put the plan forward, the details of what we are going to do in the United Nations.


But it is important to avoid the possibility of ending up with another resolution, whether from the General Assembly or the Security Council. What we are after is to encourage the international community to practically help pushing things forward towards the implementation of the international community’s vision of peace which is the two-state solution. So this time we are hoping to encourage the international community to go beyond just voting for or against another resolution because we have enough resolutions in the Security Council and in the General Assembly.


We believe that the international community have huge leverage on both Israelis and Palestinians. Israelis and Palestinians probably are the most countries dependant on support from outside. This is correct for Israel and Palestine to different extents, so the outside world can have more forceful approach to the conflict which is to the (inaudible) to both Israelis and Palestinians.


So before getting into the procedural aspects of the United Nations, the general objective is to encourage the international community to be more active in helping us moving forward, but we will come to that hopefully soon.


In terms of Australia, I mean, is it the, I mean people here are very receptive on all levels, including yourselves. We have been meeting with officials, with party leaders, with parliamentarians, with government representatives with civil society initiatives, with media, in addition to representatives of Jewish community and Palestinian community here in this city and in other parts of Australia, and also to do the same in New Zealand. We believe that Australia can be more helpful. Australia has special and good relations with Israel, which puts Australia in an advantaged position because we believe that countries like Australia should not have any problem being friendly to Israel and supportive of Israel, especially the legitimate rights and requirements of  Israel on one hand, and the legitimate rights of the Palestinians. We believe that these two sets of legitimate rights are not incompatible at all. Israel is after peace, security, recognition, integration, prosperity. These legitimate concerns and objectives do not and should not contradict with the legitimate rights of the Palestinians for ending the Israeli occupation, allowing for an independent Palestinian State that can live in peace and cooperation with its neighboring countries, including Israel.


Q: (Inaudible)

It is not Palestinian Authority by the way that is negotiating it is PLO because it is true the Palestinian Authority do not have the mandate to negotiate on behalf of the Palestinians because the Palestinian Authority has the mandate of running the affairs of the part of the Palestinians inside the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and Gaza. But the PLO is recognised by the Palestinians and by the outside world as the legitimate and by the way, by Israel as well, as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people all over the world and the PLO negotiated with Israel on these basis and the PLO is recognised by more than 120 countries in the world on this basis.

Of course there are certain Palestinians who would disagree this and who would appose that. But this is correct everywhere and I think in every country if the government will do things that is not seen appropriate by certain opposition then you would expect questioning the legitimacy of such decisions.

But I think that it is important for the Palestinians and for the Israelis to include the issue of refugees in their negotiations, and to make sure that this component of the conflict is solved because this is not a small component of the conflict because those refugees happen to be the majority of the Palestinians and any solution that do not address the issue of refugees is not going to be a final solution, whether we like it or not. That’s why the two sides have agreed and signed in Oslo on the agreement that stipulates that the refugees is one of the final negotiations issue.

Now, when we will come to negotiating the refugees issue we have to have several barometers, including the concern that you have just mentioned but also including other concerns of Palestinians, and that’s why this issue is supposed to be an issue of negotiations because it is not a straight forward subject and there are several considerations that must be taken into consideration in looking at it. On one hand, Palestinians have the right of return. This is a (inaudible) and this is a (inaudible) right and this is a right that is guaranteed by the international law, by specific resolution by the United Nation, and we cannot deny that legally this is a right. This is one consideration.

The other consideration is that different Palestinian refugees have different aspirations when it comes to solving the problem. Some of them want as a solution a compensation because they are happy wherever they are living and they prefer to make use of the compensation possibility. They might be settled with their children in whatever country in the world. I don’t know how many of the Palestinian would prefer compensation but I’m sure that there are some of them. Other Palestinians would prefer to be guaranteed a passport, a citizenship in a comfortable country maybe like Australia or Canada, and prefer that to going back to wherever they might return for obvious reasons.

Other Palestinians might like to return but not to the part of Palestine that they left because now this part is no longer Palestine that they left. Now it’s Israel and I guess many Palestinians might not like to return and to become citizens in Israel. They might prefer to return to the Palestinian State. I don’t know how many would prefer such option but I’m sure many would like to. Others might like to return to the part of historical Palestine that is now Israel and I don’t know how many want to go there.


In short, I believe that the solution of the refugee problem has to be based on a package that includes these different components but in negotiating these details we also have to take into consideration the concern that you raised. A massive return of theoretically eight million Palestinians might have the effect that you refer to, and we believe that this is a legitimate concern but probably the return of theoretically speaking 10 Palestinians might not have this effect, and I’m not suggesting that number, but I’m just trying to say that a lot can depend on the details that needs to be negotiated in a way that must take into considerations all these legitimate concerns (inaudible) and barometers.


Q: What techniques, what tactics do you intend to use to pressurise the international community and Australia to be more involved in the conflict because I tend to think that the international community is over-involved in this. Also, given what’s going on in North Korea, what’s going on in China, what’s going on in Africa, and what I saw with my own eyes in Sri Lanka two years ago, a country that has survived 35 years of civil war whose suicide bombers are trained by the (inaudible), do you not think there are more important issues for the international community to focus on?


A: I’m sure that there are other important issues but I don’t think that the international community can only focus on one conflict. All of the conflicts that you listed are supposed to be subject to attention by the international community.


Interruption by the person who asked the question: But the attention seems to be taken up by Israel-Palestine. I’ve been to the Territories myself. In comparison to what else is going on in the world these people are middle class. It’s not a situation of terrible human rights abuses or concentration camps like there are in North Korea. It’s not a situation like I saw in Sri Lanka where there are people who have no limbs in the street and no food. You say it is an urgent situation. There the urgent situations the international community needs to focus on those and not focus on the distraction of Israel and Palestine.


A: I think I disagree with your assessment to the level of importance of this conflict. I think that the Middle East in general is very important to the world for many reasons and I believe that it is an accepted rule that the continuity of the Israeli-Palestinian or the Israeli-Arab conflict is an important factor of its stability in a region that is extremely important for the outside world, and that’s why you see and you notice sustained attention by the international community on the Middle East conflict, whether there are dramatic situations and violence or not. Because it seems the outside world has a different assessment than yours. The importance of this conflict I noticed that there has been always sustained attention by the international community to this conflict. There has to be reasons for that and we (inaudible) on that our understanding, our assessment, is that the international community is interested in trying to find a solution, and I think that this interest has increased recently after what is call Arab Spring that is going on in the region and we heard president Obama saying, three times, saying in statement and in speeches that the developments in the Arab world is a factor, urging us to try to move faster in trying to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Now we might fail into attracting the attention of the international community but we will do our best and we have a sense of urgency, and I hope others will share this feeling with us.


Q. (Inaudible)


A. Yes, Tony Blair was involved. Tony Blair is the representative of the Quartet. I mean he has a limited mandate. When he was appointed he wanted to have the mandate of representing the development and aid aspects but also on political aspects. But then this did not work because the American Government insisted that the mediation on behalf of the Quartet on the political issues should remain in the hand of the American Government and Secretary of State of that time, Condoleezza Rice.

While Tony Blair was given the mandate of representing the Quartet in terms of the international community’s development programs and humanitarian programs, he was caught between the Palestinian requirements and plans and projects that are financed by the international community on one hand and the Israeli restrictions on implementing such projects on the other hand, and he spent probably 70-80% of his time and efforts trying to lobby and trying to convince the different Israeli authorities to be more flexible in allowing this sewage project in this area and that water desalination project in that area and paving this road because it is an Area C where Israel has to approve etc. So I think that he has been involved and he keeps talking with pride about his role in the success of the Palestinian Authority in implementing his plan, and in spite of the limited successes we appreciate his role and we are grateful for him.

On the second part of your question, Gaza, this is a problem for us and for others. I first have to certify that the Hamas problem is a result of the failure of the peace process. Because as I said in the beginning, the failure of the Palestinian Authority to deliver the peace and independence that we promised by negotiated means gave the chance for the opposition to grow and to ask different questions that we did not have answers to and attracted the public to try with the (inaudible), so the only way in the long term and the probably medium term to reverse the balance of powers to the favor of the moderate sectors in the Palestinian society, is to give a chance for the peace process to succeed. In this case that will empower the Palestinian moderate leadership and that will weaken Hamas but until then, the Palestinian Authority is trying its best to find a way out, including an initiative by the President, President Abbas, that was taken up positively by the new Egyptian regime, which mediated again between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas in a way that led into signing a reconciliation agreement between the two sides. We hope that this agreement will be implemented because on one hand this will gradually solve this problem internally but in a way that is careful and sensitive to our commitments to Israel and to the signed agreements to Israel and to our commitments to the international community at the same time, and so far the prospects of implementation are not clear but we are hopeful that it will work.


Q: What is the Palestinian Authority doing in relation to antisemitism that exists, whether its in text books at school or in the media so that’s state wide or not state wide media? Educating the kids about taking over the whole of Israel as opposed to a Palestinian State beside Israel? The issue of naming squares and stadiums after terrorists?


A: This question is problematic because it has an internal logical contradiction you want me to explain why there are antisemitic expressions in the Palestinian school text books and media while I believe that there isn’t. So I find it difficult to explain when I don’t see or don’t believe it exits. Palestinian school curricular is consistent to 100% with the signed agreements between the Palestinians and the Israelis. There isn’t at all any section or sector or sentence in the Palestinian school curricular that contradicts with the Palestine commitments in the agreements. I am an educator and I know what I’m talking about and I always in these kind of meetings, I always challenge anybody to prove otherwise.

Interruption: Excuse me, in Jerusalem square in Ramallah when I was there in 2004, there was a banner that has a Star of David equals the Nazi Swastika. Is that antisemitism or it doesn’t exist?

A: I was referring to the school books and I challenge everybody on this, there isn’t any problem in this regard in our school books and I can add to this Israel is allowing teaching our school books in Jerusalem schools that are under the Israeli direct education control, and I don’t think Israel would allow these Palestinian Authority school books to be taught in such place if they have any impression that there are problems in them.

In addition and allow me to be a little bit transparent and elaborate on this because it keeps coming with no ground. The printing of our texts books is financed every year by the Europeans and because of these continued allegations they sent a commission to check on these text books and send a report that is usually published on a website that any of you can read it and every year let us defy through this commission that there is no incitement or antisemitic problems in the Palestine school books. So anybody who has any criticism or accusation must bring an example, must tell me page number so and so, and the book number so and so but keep referring to this issue in this level of (inaudible) is not constructive.


Why Israel does not exist in the Palestinian curricular because Palestine does not exist in the Israeli curricular and the minute we will see the map of Palestinian State in the Israeli curricular there will be a map of Israel in the Palestinian curricular.

Interruption: Isn’t there a difference that Israel currently exists and Palestine currently doesn’t?

A: Palestine does not exist because Israel is occupying Palestine. Before asking us to include it in the map has to first end its illegal occupation in order to allow us to have an independent state and to include it in the school books and three days before that you will find the map of Israel in the school books and I think that is only fair.

Interruption: On that point why don’t you take a unilateral action, I mean Israel has taken a number of unilateral actions over the years, why don’t you take a unilateral action, put the map of Israel, declare the State of Israel in your school books, and go to the Israelis with that demand that they now reciprocate?

A: I suggest a third alternative; we go and talk to the Israelis and agree on one date in which the two sides will put the map of the other.

On the third part of your question regarding naming places after Palestinian personalities that are considered heroes by Palestinians and considered criminals or terrorists by Israelis. I think that this problem exits in both Israel and Palestine because in every conflict heroes on one side are criminals or terrorists on the other side, and when we got these accusations from Israel we went and collected examples in Israel of streets and squares and buildings that are named after people whom the Israelis might consider heroes but we and others in the world would consider terrorists or criminals. People who have committed crimes against the Palestinians, people who led operations of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians, we have the right to look at those as criminals exactly the Israelis are looking at people in our side as criminals. Either we reach an agreement that will be applied on the two sides or we leave each side free to do it the way they want.


When these issues were raised intensively, President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayad suggested to the American side the need to establish a three ways committee, Palestinian-Israeli-American, that would have the two tasks of, one, developing and agreed on definition and criteria for incitement and second, apply this definition and this criteria in both Israel and Palestine, and based on that plan for whatever measures, including education, that would help reducing incitement and (inaudible) in both Israel and Palestine, and until now we did not get an approval from the Israeli side for this proposal and we believe that we will not hear an acceptance from Israel because the current Israeli Government is not interested in solving this problem as much as it is interested in using it for propaganda proposes and for PR purposes.



4 Responses to “Palestinian leader addresses the Capital Jewish Forurm”
  1. Boaz says:

    Totally agree with Otto Waldman, shame on this Judenrat mentality!

  2. If the “first” reason that that we “do not find ourselves much near to achieving the objectives of the peace process” is the “continued Israeli unilateral illegal activities in the Palestinian occupied territories” then what was the reason that Palestinian Arabs murdered Jewish civilians in 1921, 1924, 1929, and 1935-7 when Israel did not even exist? And why were there wars in 1948, 1956 and 1967, when there were no so-called “occupied territories”?

    The real reason we “do not find ourselves much near to achieving the objectives of the peace process” is that after 90 years the Arab world is no closer to accepting a Jewish nation as a neighbour.

  3. Yesh Prabhu says:

    I read this article with great interest. Thank you very much for posting it. I am happy that all the efforts made by the Palestinian representatives who have gone to several capitals of nations around the world, to urge the governments to recognize Palestine as a sovereign nation based on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, have borne fruit. More than 125 nations have already recognized Palestine, and so there is no doubt what so ever that Palestinians will get an unprecedented number of votes at the UN. Israel will be lucky if it gets more than thirty votes, which shows how isolated the current radical government of Israel really is.

    The actions Netanyahu has taken is so bizarre and devoid of logic, and his behavior is so arrogant and callous, that even President Obama felt compelled to criticize Netanyahu’s settlements policy in the occupied territories, and only today he asked Hillary Clinton to issue a statement that the US is “deeply concerned” that such “unilateral actions work against efforts to resume direct negotiations and contradict the logic of a reasonable and necessary agreement between the parties.” The State department also said it raised its objections with the Israeli government.

    The European Union’s Catherine Ashton has also condemned the approval of 930 housing units in East Jerusalem. “The European Union has repeatedly urged the government of Israel to immediately end all settlement activities in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem. All settlement activities are illegal under international law,” AFP quoted Ashton as saying in a statement. “Continued settlement undermines trust between the parties and efforts to resume negotiations. This is especially true with regard to Jerusalem,” the EU chief said, adding “I believe there can be no sustainable peace in the Middle East without a two-state solution with the state of Israel and a viable and contiguous Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security.”

    September is fast approaching. The world can expect to see hectic activity in the coming days in Washington. President Obama will undoubtedly try to put more obstacles in the Palestinians’ path to the UN, but he will not succeed. In the very near future, Palestine will proudly hoist its flag in East Jerusalem. The EU, Russia, China, Brazil and India will stand by the Palestinians.

    Yesh Prabhu, Bushkill, Pennsylvania

  4. Otto Waldmann says:

    To say that CJF is acting utterly irresponsibily, that at this juncture,or any other actually, offering a platform to the most perverted purveyors of hate against Israel and implicitely everything Jewish,to allow, as a purpotedly “JEWISH” organisation the official peddling of the most incredible prostitution of reality in the most UNINTELLIGENT way,right here , in Australia, deems at best Capital Jewish Forum TOTALLY COMMUNALLY CRIMINAL !!!

    The contents of the presentation by the “Distinguished Guest” is so replete with the most deficient logic, that it would take pages to describe its vicioiusly false spins. This is typical palestinian attempt at deceiving while offending basic intelligence.

    CJF and its founder have proven that it and him are not fit to represent our community. The ACT Jewish community MUST take serious stock of what they are allowing to be done to the larger Jewish community and remove its highly pernicious leadership !!!

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