Guardian editorial advances ‘raw political lie’ about Israeli views on peace talks

An official Guardian editorial on April 11 on efforts to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations (‘Israel-Palestine: a mountain to climb‘) wasn’t the most egregiously skewed commentary they’ve published by any standard.  Nevertheless, it did again demonstrate the signature Guardian polemical tick of ignoring data which contradicts their preconceived narrative of the conflict.

The op-ed begins thusly.

The late journalist and author Amnon Dankner wrote a satirical column a few months before his untimely death in which he imagined that Israel had found a way of detaching itself, body and soul, from the Middle East and turning into the island it always wanted to be. Drifting westwards, it would finally find its true home on the east coast of the US. Dankner’s conceit captured a raw political truth: that there is no urgency, or even appetite, for negotiations with the Palestinians. The polling is consistent: 70% are for the two-state solution; 80% think it will never happen.

Leaving aside the risible suggestion that it’s Israel’s fault that the Arab world has spent most of the past 65 years devoting vast amounts of energy – militarily, economically, diplomatically and morally – to rid the region of the sole ‘Zionist presence’, the Guardian’s contention that Israelis have no “appetite” for negotiations with the Palestinians is flat-out untrue.

Gallup’s latest polling (on March 13, 2013) indicates that 70% of Jewish Israelis (and 89% of non-Jewish Israelis) support the peace process with the Palestinians.  


The fact that most Israelis are also skeptical concerning the efficacy of such talks doesn’t imply an erosion of support for the process itself – but, rather, indicates that most don’t believe talks will lead to the end of hostilities.

Whilst a strong majority of Israelis still support, in principle, a two-state solution, and a majority support the evacuation of a substantial portion of the settlements, Israeli polling data also clearly indicates that a large majority of Israelis are convinced that a two-state solution will NOT in fact resolve the conflict.  

Their skepticism is based on the failure of the Oslo ‘peace process’, and the broader failure of the ‘land for peace’ strategy, per the results of such unilateral Israeli moves as the withdrawal from South Lebanon in 2000, and the Gaza disengagement in 2005.

Most Israelis passionately support efforts to achieve peace but, based on experience, also believe that, given the reactionary political values which are pervasive within Palestinian society, a new Palestinian state will likely be ruled (or at least politically dominated) by either Hamas or another extremist movement, and result in continuous Gaza-style rocket attacks and other acts of terror, all of which will make Israel less secure.

The assumption that a new Palestinian state will be peaceful represents a remarkable leap of faith given the Palestinian Authority’s track record in the nearly 20 years since Oslo, one which has been heavy on hate-education, incitement, terrorism, non-compliance towards previous agreements, corruption, and repression of fellow Palestinians.

Contrary to the Guardian editorial, there is indeed an Israeli appetite for negotiations, but one which is soberly informed by a wariness towards a putative resolution which will result in a continuation of war and terror, greater insecurity, and more Israeli bloodshed.

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