My following letter appears in today’s Sydney Morning Herald:
Advocacy of a just outcome of the Israel/Palestine conflict is not helped by falsehoods as those proclaimed by Paul Rubenstein (“If you cheer for Hamas, know it wants Israel wiped out”, May 27). Concerning the latest destruction in Gaza, it beggars belief to claim that the slaughter of more than 200 Palestinians including 60 children is not deliberate killing. To insist there was no colonisation of Palestine because “Jewish people returned to their homeland” suggests that the world must accept only a blindly pro-Israeli version of history. “A land without a people for a people without a land” was the historical lie promoted in 1948, in Australia in 1788 and apparently by Rubenstein in 2021. As in any negotiations, no-one is obliged to accept everything said by another side. Nonetheless, many Hamas leaders have shown pragmatism and willingness to compromise.
We take the Gandhian view that it is easy to have conversation with friends but the real test comes in exchanges with supposed enemies. Hamas has given prospective recognition of Israel, dependent on withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territories and a solution to the refugee problem but their offers of dialogue with Israel are regularly rejected. Instead of negotiation, the US, Israel, Egypt and Western powers have for 15 years maintained the cruel siege of Gaza. That siege should end. The longest occupation in modern times will only end when Israel feels international pressure to do so. Stuart Rees, Sydney Peace Foundation and Antony Loewenstein, Australian Independent Jewish Voices