Israeli Peace Activist Considers Future Negotiations

Article excerpt

American Muslims for Jerusalem (AMJ) and Jews for Peace in Palestine and Israel (JPPI) co-hosted an "Eyewitness Report From Palestine" briefing at the National Press Club May 6. Leading Israeli peace activist Jeff Halper, a professor at Ben-Gurion University and coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, described two very different Israeli and Palestinian plans for the future of the occupied territories. (See his special report on p. 6 of this issue.)

When peace negotiations began in 1991, Halper said, Israel never intended the final outcome to be a Palestinian state. Rather, it sought a mini-state with Palestinian municipal autonomy but no real independence. To make sure that Israel maintained control of the West Bank and Gaza, government policies resulted in the doubling of Jewish settlement building, demolition of Palestinian homes, and construction of a massive system of bypass roads-all during the "peace process."

At Camp David 2000, Israel made its best offer yet. Contrary to what most Americans believe, however-thanks to the media-Israel never offered Palestinians independence. Americans believe that President Yasser Arafat rejected a "generous" offer95 percent of the land- and chose violence instead. …