Statement from ZFA President Philip Chester in response to Australia FM Bob Carr’s comments about Israel
The Zionist Federation of Australia endorses FM Bob Carr’s reiteration of the Australian government’s support of a two-state solution, and it fully agrees that direct negotiations are absolutely necessary to make progress towards peace. Indeed Israeli PM Netanyahu’s offer to elevate the negotiations to direct talks between himself and Palestinian President Abbas, having made the significant concession of not insisting on Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, underscores Israel’s commitment to progressing the process.
We believe that FM Carr’s focus on the issue of the settlements as an obstacle to peace distracts from the real issues which have precluded agreements to date – i.e. the unwillingness of the Palestinian Authority to enter into negotiations, coupled with ongoing Palestinian attacks on Israeli citizens and the promulgation of hatred in Palestinian education and media.
FM Carr noted correctly that trust and confidence are necessary for progress. Indeed these can only be built in the absence of hatred, and will be eroded by rocket fire from Gaza and violent attacks by Palestinians on Israel and its citizens.
The determination of borders, settlements and other final status issues are core to the peace process and can only be resolved as an outcome of the negotiations. Predetermined outcomes on these issues cannot, therefore, be preconditions to the negotiations.
From the early and optimistic Oslo process, through subsequent summits and meetings, Israel has always been and remains willing to negotiate for peace. The Israeli government and people are committed to achieving peace with their Palestinian neighbours. It is hoped that President Abbas will take up the offer of direct negotiations, without preconditions, as a first and important step towards peace.