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Friday, 22 July 2011

Netanyahu, peace, settlers and Iran

As I have written previously, I hold no brief for Binyamin Netanyahu. Israel's prime minister is a right-wing conservative and I am a liberal, so I doubt that I would vote for him if I was an Israeli citizen. That said, we have to start from where we are - and where we are is with Prime Minister Netanyahu. I was therefore very pleased to read this transcript of an interview that Mr Netanyahu has given to a TV station called Al Arabiya. Ask yourselves this question: Which would you rather have - a Prime Minister Netanyahu who says these things, or a Prime Minster Netanyahu who doesn't say these things? I strongly prefer the former. He is talking here about his desire to start peace talks with President Abbas now, without pre-conditions, and - however aware one must be of the difficulties that lie ahead - I applaud him for saying that. I wish that the Palestinian President would take him up on it immediately.

Also today, a fascinating Economist piece on the possibility that some Israeli settlers might stay living under the rule of a Palestinian government in the territory of an eventual Palestinian state. I am not naive about the challenges posed by this article, but it's still a good reminder of the flexibility and imagination that can be applied to the Israel/Palestine situation when people set their minds to it, whatever ugly prejudices also remain (including among some of the settlers themselves).

The Washington Post, meanwhile, has published an alarming editorial warning that sanctions against Iran appear not to be working - pause for thought for anyone who cares about stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons. That last sentence obviously poses questions to which I do not pretend to have all the answers.

UPDATE on Sunday 24 July 2011 You might be interested to see that, over at the Jewish Chronicle website, this post has prompted an exchange of views, which you can read by clicking here and here.


  1. Mathew,
    will you please get real. Israel is not intrested in peace - all it does is keep talking and at the same time keep building. 20 years have shown that....the only way for peace is for israel up pull out of the occupied palastine....and stop stealing other peoples land