(Note: An edited version of the following letter to the editor appeared in The Baltimore Sun on Jan. 4, 2016)
Commentator Richard Gross’s latest missive misleads through omissions, applauding the most recent anti-Israel U.N. vote and blaming Israel for the lack of a peaceful “two state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (“No chance for peace,” Dec. 30).
Gross claims that Israel ignored Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s advice to “resolve the Palestinian issue.” But it was the leadership of the Palestinian Authority that rejected U.S. and Israeli offers of statehood in exchange for peace at Camp David in 2000, at Taba in 2001 and after the Annapolis Conference in 2008, among other instances. Had they been accepted, settlements would be a mute point.
Gross omits that the PA is violating the terms of the Oslo process which created it and under which it still receives international aid. That process called for recognizing Israel and resolving “outstanding issues” in bilateral negotiations with the Jewish state. It also stipulates that the Palestinian leadership cease its incitement to anti-Jewish violence.
Yet, no such thing has occurred. In fact, Palestinian “peace negotiator” Saeb Erekat, who met with Kerry shortly before the recent U.N. vote, said in October 2016 “we bow our heads in admiration and honor” for the acts of “heroism” committed by imprisoned Palestinian terrorists.
Perhaps the problem then isn’t the settlements in the West Bank, where as a December 30 Washington Post editorial noted, 80% of the growth has been in areas “Israel would likely annex in any settlement” and only 20,000 added to “communities in territory likely become part of Palestine—an area where 2.75 million Arabs now live”—a mere 3 percent per annum growth over 8 years. Rather, the lack of peace and Palestinian statehood can be attributed to the absence of a Palestinian leader with Sadat’s vision.
The writer is a Research Analyst for CAMERA, the 65,000-member, Boston-based Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America