Calling Netanyahu’s bluff with ten clear questions
1. On Israel’s lack of response to the Arab Peace Initiative
Why has Israel never responded to the Arab Peace Initiative , based on “land for peace” and the 1967 borders? The offer was first made in 2002, and offered again in 2007. What are Israel’s objections to it?
2. On Hamas and Netanyahu’s Likud Party
Israel continues to make an issue of the 1988 Hamas Charter despite the fact that Hamas leaders have been making important conciliatory statements for years. How can Netanyahu and his party, Likud, criticize the Hamas Charter when its own party platform precludes the establishment of a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River, i.e. in the West Bank or Gaza?
3. On Negotiations with Hamas
Former Mossad chief Efrain Halevy has publicly urged Netanyahu to negotiate with Hamas, so has a former head of Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service. If talking with one’s enemies is an inevitable requirement for peace, why is Netanyahu dragging his heels about doing what will necessarily have to be done to reach a peace agreement: allow Hamas to participate in the negotiations, directly or indirectly?
4. On Netanyahu’s Boast to have “Wrecked” the Oslo Peace Accords
In a 2001 interview, unaware that the cameras were rolling, Netanyahu boasted that he had wrecked the Oslo Accords through misrepresentation and ambiguity. At that time, he declared: “I’ll give such interpretation to the Accords that will make it possible for me to stop this galloping to the ’67 [armistice] lines. How did we do it? No one said what defined military zones. Defined military sites, I said, were security zones; as far as I’m concerned, the Jordan Valley is a defined military site.” Will Netanyahu renounce this statement, and commit instead to sincere negotiations?
5. On Israel’s claim that the 1967 borders are indefensible
A delegation of high-ranking former diplomats and generals went to Washington last July to refute Netanyahu’s claim that the 1967 borders are indefensible. Why not go with the 1967 borders – and take advantage of the current willingness of both Fatah and Hamas to accept those borders as the basis for a final peace agreement?
6. On Palestinian Membership at the United Nations
Israel was admitted into the UN in 1949, without clear borders, and without having brokered a peace deal with its neighbours. On what basis is Israel opposed to Palestinian membership at the UN under the same conditions?
7. On Palestinian supposed “pre-conditions” to negotiations
The Palestinians have asked that Israel stop building settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories before peace talks can resume. Netanyahu has labelled this request a “precondition”. Given that these settlements are, in the first place, illegal under international law and given they are built on the very land that is at the heart of the talks, how can demanding a construction halt be labelled a “precondition”?
8. On Israel’s insistence to continue to construct illegal colonies
In February 2012, just weeks before Netanyahu’s visit to the US, the Israeli Defence Ministry gave preliminary approval to a plan to build 600 new homes in Shiloh , a settlement so deep inside the West Bank that it’s actually much closer to Jordan than to Israel. Since this is not the first time Israel has made such announcements just prior to meetings with the US , it’s hard to believe they happen coincidentally or without the knowledge of the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office. What message is Israel trying to convey to the US? What message is Israel trying to convey to the Palestinians?
9. On illegal Israeli “administrative detention” of Palestinians
Israel has not charged or tried over 300 Palestinians that it currently holds in jail. Neither they nor their representatives are allowed to know what, if any, charges will eventually be brought, and what evidence, if any, the Israeli authorities have to justify eventual charges. Why doesn’t Israel comply with the legal requirements of the Fourth Geneva Convention which stipulate that detainees must be informed of suspicions against them, must be given access to legal counsel, and must not be indefinitely detained?
10. On Israeli threats to attack Iran
Under what precept of international law does Israel threaten to pre-emptively attack Iran?
For decades, Israel has possessed nuclear weapons: it is the first country in the Middle East to have developed them. Why won’t Israel accede to international treaties on nuclear arms?
Israel’s possession of nuclear arms inevitably prompts other regional powers to seek them. If Iran agreed to verifiably cancel any nuclear programs, would Israel be willing to dismantle its nuclear arms in order to avoid a regional nuclear arms race in the Middle East?