Settlements Are Not the Obstacle to Israel-Palestinian Peace

This letter appeared in The Palm Beach Post on November 22, 2013.

Letters to the Editor
The Palm Beach Post 

To the Editor:

As usual, while ostensibly commenting on current developments in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations John Quigley turns to biased allegations and longtime factual inaccuracies regarding Israel (“U.S. can’t accept settlements if it wants Mideast peace.”)

Contrary to Mr. Quigley’s assertions, settlements are not the main obstacle to peace, but rather are one of many issues — including Israel’s security concerns, Palestinian refugees and the status of Jerusalem — that will be negotiated as part of a final-status agreement. Although the Palestinians sought to impose a “precondition” of freezing settlement activity following the breakdown in negotiations in 2010, they abandoned that position prior to the start of the current round of talks. Moreover, Israel has been willing to uproot settlements in the interest of peace, and it is expected that similar difficult concessions will be taken as part of a final Israeli-Palestinian agreement.

Most disturbing is Mr. Quigley’s one-sided portrayal of Israel, and the complete absence of any responsibility or blame attributed to the Palestinians. This is most evident in Mr. Quigley’s revisionist account of the Six-Day War between Israel and the surrounding Arab states. He ignores all evidence demonstrating that Israel’s military action was justified as a preemptive measure against a planned attack. Somewhat bizarrely, he uses this false reading of history to tar and feather Israel in its conflict with the Palestinians, even going as far as to demonize the Jewish state as a “thief.”

Public debate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is important. Mr. Quigley’s disingenuous and deeply distorted arguments do not contribute to a meaningful conversation regarding the peace process.

Hava L. Holzhauer
Florida Regional Director
Anti-Defamation League

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