Madam, – The Israeli ambassador (November 4th) claims that the Palestinians refused a generous Israeli offer at Camp David and Taba.
The ambassador should have told your readers the parts of the Occupied Palestinian territories that were to be retained by Israel in this generous offer. These were: the Jordan Valley, 25 per cent of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, the Latrun salient and the No Man’s Land. All together, these make nearly 50 per cent of the Occupied Palestinian territories.
In his book, Palestine Peace Not Apartheid, former US president, Jimmy Carter stated: “It was later claimed that the Palestinians rejected a generous offer. The fact is no such offer was ever made” (page 152).
President Carter also quoted Ehud Barak, the Israeli prime minister at the time, as saying: “The only thing that took place at Taba was non-binding contacts between senior Israelis and senior Palestinians” (page 152).
The ambassador quotes Prime Minister Netanyahu offering the Palestinians “its own flag, its own national anthem, its own government” in a speech on June 14th this year. The ambassador didn’t mention that in that speech Mr Netanyahu didn’t say anything about the boundaries he had in mind for a Palestinian state. It was as if he were offering the Palestinians a state on the moon.
In the same speech, Mr Netanyahu laid down pre-conditions set by for a Palestinian state, which deprived it of any kind of sovereignty, making it no more than a Mickey Mouse state, certainly not “an independent, viable, sovereign Palestinian state”, as required by the Road Map.
I for one believe that the true vision of Mr Netanyahu was published on January 17th, 2002 by Associated Press writer, Jack Katzenell, who wrote: “Former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said . . . that a Palestinian state must never be established and that Yasser Arafat must be overthrown”.
Finally, the evacuation of Gaza in 2005 speaks for itself: Israel redeployed its occupying forces unilaterally, moving out of the room, but surrounding the house.
It is becoming obvious to everyone, except the Israelis, that they are playing in “extra time” and that, since they are unwilling to allow the creation of an independent, viable, sovereign Palestinian state, the only option left will be a single bi-national state.
In the 21st century, Israel to be a democratic state, cannot rule over all the people between the Jordan and the Sea, as it has done since 1967. There will have to be “one man one vote” for everyone currently subject to Israeli rule – and a bi-national state. – Yours, etc,
Ambassador HIKMAT AJJURI,
General Delegation of Palestine,
Mount Merrion Avenue,