Conventional wisdom – as advanced by the mainstream media (MSM) including the Guardian – regarding the factors representing the main obstacles to ending the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict rarely faces much critical scrutiny. Indeed, assumptions regarding the primacy of issues such as “settlements” and “the occupation” are often impervious to contradictory evidence.
The Guardian’s coverage of the region is constantly colored by such assumptions.
Here are a few facts which, if more widely disseminated, would at least allow for a more honest debate about the conflict.
Percentage of West Bank land inhabited by Israeli “settlers”, per even Palestinian sources: 1.1 %.
Palestinian’s want peace?
Percentage of Palestinians who accept Israel’s right to exist: 23%.
Palestinian support for terrorism
Percentage of Palestinians who support suicide bombing: 68% (Highest percentage of any nation/polity in the Arab world).
Percentage of Palestinians who openly express an unfavorable view of Jews (and not merely Israelis): 97%.
Percentage of land from which Israel withdrew in the 45 years since the Six Day War: More than two-thirds. (Sinai, Gaza, South Lebanon and much of the West Bank)
Logic of land for peace:
Israel withdrew from 100% of South Lebanon in 2000, 100% of Gaza in 2005 and 40% of the West Bank under the Oslo Accords.
Contrary to expectations, Israeli withdrawal from South Lebanon dramatically strengthened the political influence and military capacity of Hezbollah and arguably led to the Second Lebanon War.
Similarly, Israeli withdrawal from Gaza resulted in the territory being taken over by Hamas, more than 8,000 rockets fired at Israeli communities and, ultimately, the Gaza War.
Finally, whilst none of these facts should necessarily preclude negotiations between the two parties, it is vital that the clichés, distortions and outright lies about what truly prevents a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian (and Israeli-Arab) Conflict be abandoned and a more sober, and factual, understanding of the moral and political dynamics embraced.