Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Other People's Mail

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Other People's Mail

Article excerpt

An Israeli Expert's Dissent

To The Washington Post, May 4, 2012

The April 29 news story "Former Israeli security chief slams leaders on Iran" leftout the more important part: Yuval Diskin's charge that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government is responsible for the deadlock in negotiations with the Palestinians.

According to the Hebrew edition of Haaretz, Diskin declared that Netanyahu's government "has no interest in solving anything with the Palestinians, that I can say with certainty...Forget the story they are selling you that [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] doesn't want to talk. We are not talking with the Palestinians because this government has no interest in talking with the Palestinians...The prime minister knows that if he takes the smallest step forward in that direction his solid coalition will break apart."

Diskin's critics have sought to discredit his charge that Netanyahu is misleading the public on Iran by pointing out that his security portfolio did not extend to that country. Not the case, however, for Israel and the Palestinians.

For six years (until a year ago), Diskin was the chief security and intelligence authority for Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.

He understands that Israel's security and Mideast peace depend upon a settlement with the Palestinians. That was what should have been headline news.

David A. Korn, Washington, DC

Three New Developments

To The Seattle Times, June 7, 2012

Three momentous developments are transforming the Israeli-Palestinian conflict yet receiving scant attention.

First, for both Israel and Palestine, there seemingly is no confidence in the role of international negotiations between governmental representatives of the two sides. To please Washington, neither party has openly repudiated diplomacy. But informed observers are increasingly convinced that direct negotiations between the parties are a dead end.

Second, there is a definite shifttoward nonviolence by the Palestinians. Nonviolent actions that challenge the legitimacy of Israeli policies, above all its continuing occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, are increasingly occurring.

The third major development is a shiftin the regional balance in favor of the Palestinians. All the presidential candidates in the Egyptian elections seemed ready to question past collaboration with Israel. Turkey, once a strategic ally of Israel, is now an antagonist, as well as being an avowed backer of Palestinian claims.

In light of these changes, Israeli realists should be devoting their utmost energies to finding ways to reach a sustainable peace agreement that is sensitive to Palestinian rights under international law. So far, however, the Netanyahu government seems to be ignoring the ominous writing on the regional wall.

Richard Falk, U.N. special rapporteur on Palestinian human rights, Princeton, NJ

End the Occupation

To The Wichita Eagle, June 7, 2012

In the past year, people all over the Arab world have stood up against oppressive regimes to claim their political rights. Ironically, the region's "only democracy," Israel, is still keeping 4 million people under military occupation. Yet the world community does not seem too concerned about it.

Since the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel has more or less maintained the occupation. It has subjected the Palestinian population in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza to daily injustices and systemic collective punishments-including travel restrictions, land confiscation, house demolitions, arbitrary arrests, detentions without charge and extrajudicial killings.

Meanwhile, Israeli settlement expansion continues, in breach of international law. The "security fence" that was supposed to wall offthe West Bank goes through Palestinian lands and cities, often splitting offpeople from access to their agricultural lands, schools, hospitals and fire stations, and leaving more than 100,000 people on the "wrong" side of the wall. …

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