CAMERA Letter to the Editor: Palestinian Intransigence

(The following is an unedited version of a letter to the editor that appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch on Jan. 14, 2017)

In her letter, “U.N. vote will end Israeli injustice” (Jan. 4) the Rev. Elizabeth Yates misleads readers about who is responsible for the lack of peace and a Palestinian state. She omits that it was the Palestinian Authority (PA) that rejected—without so much as a counteroffer—U.S. and Israeli offers for a “two-state solution” in 2000 at Camp David, 2001 at Taba and 2008 after the Annapolis conference, among other instances. Instead of peace, the PA has chosen to endorse terrorism and incite anti-Jewish violence.

In the last year alone, Palestinian terrorists committed 169 stabbings, 124 shootings, 50 vehicular attacks and a vehicle bombing. PA “peace negotiator” Saeb Erekat—who reportedly met with Secretary Kerry prior to 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—terrorists whom are paid and glorified by the PA.

Yates bemoans the “Israeli occupation” but neglects to mention that, as a December 30 Washington Post editorial noted, the growth of Jewish communities in the West Bank has slowed, with a growth rate of “about 3 percent per annum, the product of a restraint for which Mr. Netanyahu received no White House credit.” Palestinian leaders have made clear in routine statements and in state and U.N.-funded education, that they consider all of Israel to be an “occupation.” Indeed, attacks against the Jewish state predate Israel’s acquisition of territories in the 1967 Six-Day War.

Further, contra to Yates’ claim otherwise, U.N. Res. 2334 was passed under Chapter 6 of the U.N. Charter and is thus considered advisory; it does not create any binding obligations and its passage does not make settlements “illegal.”

When, for the first time in history, Palestinian Arabs were granted limited self-sovereignty over some areas as part of the 1993 Oslo process it was done by Israel in exchange for Palestinian promises—soon broken—to recognize the Jewish state, resolve outstanding issues in bilateral negotiations and cease incitement and terrorism.

The recent U.N. vote, far from advancing peace, violates Oslo’s stipulations and rewards Palestinian intransigence.

Sean Durns

The writer is a Research Analyst for the Washington D.C. office of CAMERA, the 65,000-member, Boston-based Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America

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