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Huntley fails to work within history

[Letter to the editor, Chicago Sun-Times, May 18, 2012, "Fallacies won't help Mideast peace"]

In his May 11 column "Palestinians fail to work for peace," Steve Huntley gives history a wide berth and offers little that is accurate.

For example, the Palestinian territories are not "disputed," but illegally occupied. Israel's 10-month "moratorium" on settlement activity in 2010 never took place. There is no evidence whatsoever of a nuclear weapons program in Iran. And so on throughout the column.

The centerpiece of Huntley's article, however, is Palestinian obstruction of peace "that has for decades foreclosed every realistic option to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." The diplomatic history tells a very different story.

In the decades since the 1967 war, Israel has rejected a long list of proposals. Many of the initiatives were actually advanced by the Palestinians and/or Arab states, calling for a two-state solution. Israel did present its own initiative in 1989, suggesting continued occupation.

On balance, the diplomatic record reveals that the true obstacle to the conflict's resolution has instead been U.S.-Israeli rejection for 45 years.

There is cause for optimism. A number of reasonable initiatives have been put forward in the last decade. And a majority of Palestinians, Israelis and Americans - along with the international community - are in favor of a two-state solution. The path forward is clear. Reiterating the standard fallacies and fictions, however, only moves the situation backward.

Gregory Harms, Joliet

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© MMXII Gregory Harms