Wednesday, 27 February 2013
"Let's not repeat the lie, but stand for the truth: Again and again the Palestinians rejected a fair and decent solution."
On a visit to Ireland, Israeli journalist Ben-Dror Yemini is delivering a blunt uncompromising message to this strongly pro-Palestinian society. Below is an extract of a forceful interview with an editor of the Irish Examiner, where he pushes the importance of the two-states for two-peoples approach, which has been the backbone of all serious peace solutions to-date.
Dolan O’Hagan: I am going to cut to the chase with my opening question Ben-Dror. In the eyes of many Irish people the attitude of the Israeli leadership in relation to its various border conflicts mirror those seen in some unionist leaders in the north of Ireland prior to the peace process there, i.e. an intransigent "we have what we hold" attitude and a determined unwillingness to compromise. How do you respond to that charge?
Ben-Dror Yemini:
The comparison is completely false. Historically, the Arabs rejected any peace plan based on the most acceptable settlement of two states for two peoples. It began with the Partition Resolution, 1947, that was rejected by all the Arab countries. It continued with the three "NO's" of the Khartoum Arab summit, immediately after the Six Days War in 1967. Getting into current history, Arafat rejected the Clinton peace plan at the end of 2000, and Mahmoud Abbas rejected the Olmert plan at 2008. Both plans gave the Palestinians a sovereign state. So let's not repeat the lie, but stand for the truth: Again and again the Palestinians rejected a fair and decent solution.
Q. You are quoted as being a long-time believer in the two-state solution but have made it clear you believe Israel should have the same right of self-determination as the Palestinians. Can you briefly elaborate on the second part of that statement.
Historically, "Palestinian people" or "Palestinian state" never existed. But the Palestinians have the right for self determination, like any other people on earth. With only one condition: alongside Israel, and not on the expense of Israel. […]
Q. …Can you explain your understanding of a two state solution and, more importantly, what you feel are the main barriers to it being achieved.

The main barrier is the intransigent demand for the "right of return" to Israel itself. We all should remember two fundamental facts: First, 52 million people were forced out of their homelands as a result of wars after World War 2, when new borders were defined and new states were established, none of these people received the "right of return". Second, 850,000 Jews were forced out from Arab states (comparing to 711,000 Arabs), because of the same conflict. The difference is that only the Palestinians are perpetuated as refugees. Not because of Israel but "as a winning card for the extermination of Israel", as they admit. So time has come to finish with the fantasy of "right of return", i.e., the extermination of Israel. Many Palestinians understand it, Unfortunately, not their leadership. Not yet. […]
Q. Staying with Ireland. As a nation are we not better qualified than any other to achieve reconciliation of this nature.
The Middle-East has a very bad experience with international involvement. The EU and EU countries, including Ireland, finance NGO's that support the "right of return", for example. Do they give any support to the German NGO that support "right of return" of ethnic Germans to Poland or Hungary? We know that your help is based supposedly on "human rights". The result is counterproductive. You perpetuate the problem instead of to solve the problem. […]
Q. ...It appears to me that "Islamic fundamentalism" is a very much overused term in western media. But if one assumes that "fundamental" muslim beliefs do lead to violent repercussions throughout the globe what do you feel needs to happen to ensure such violence ends.
The term "Islamic fundamentalism" is not overused. If anything it is under estimated. We should all bare in mind that 99% of the victims of the Islamic fundamentalism are Muslims themselves - in Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Sumaly, Algeria and so on. They are ignored, because we judge the whole area - culture, countries and religion - according to lower standards. They pay a very high price, in human lives, because the west is obsessed with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We should all wake up and look at the big picture, and not ignore it.
Posted on 02/27/2013 10:18 AM by Robert Harris
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