Today, December 28, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry gave a speech, following the U.S. abstention in the recent UN Security Council vote.
He failed to mention the repeated offers from Israel to negotiate a peace agreement that would work to create a Palestinian state on the West Bank/ Gaza, as well as settle the issue regarding settlements.
To fail to mention these important points is to demonstrate the bias of the current administration.
Sandy Wezowicz, Israel Education and Awareness Director, has put together a very succinct timeline that clearly illustrates the repeated offers from the Israeli government to reach a peaceful agreement with the Palestinians.
1947 - The UN General Assembly passed Resolution 181 which created 2 states, one Jewish and one Arab. The Jews accepted the decision, but the Arabs turned it down.
May 14, 1948 - Israel declared the establishment of the Jewish state and the next day 5 Arab armies declared war against the newly formed Jewish state.
1967 - After the 6 day war ended, Israel immediately offered to return conquered territory in exchange for peace. Months later 8 Arab nations, meeting in Khartoum, Sudan, rejected the offer. Known as the “3 No’s of Khartoum”, the Arabs declared: no peace, no recognition of Israel, no negotiation with Israel.
1993 - The Oslo Accord was signed between Israel and the Palestinians. Israel gave Palestinians governing authority over the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza: education, security, media, civil authority matters, finance. At the end of 5 years, if the Palestinians dismantled terrorism, then final borders, decision on Jerusalem, refugees and security would be negotiated. Israel honored the agreement, the Palestinian terrorism continued unabated.
2000 - At Camp David US President Clinton, PLO President Arafat and Israeli PM Barak met. The Israelis offered a Palestinian state that would occupy 96% of the West Bank, sovereignty over east Jerusalem and the Temple Mount and billions of dollars to build an infrastructure in the Arab state. Arafat turned it down.
2005 - Israeli PM Ariel Sharon, to jump start peace negotiations, turned Gaza over to the Palestinians. 17 Jewish communities (settlements) were forced to leave. Within 5 months, the terrorist group, Hamas, won the election in Gaza. Terrorism against Israelis escalated.
2008- Israeli PM Ehud Olmert offered Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas 97 percent of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria). Drawing on the 1967 borders a land swap would take place between Israel and the new state: the major Israeli settlements in the West Bank becoming part of Israel and, in return, an equivalent part of the Israeli territory given to the Palestinians to compensate. Jerusalem would be divided, Jews would abandon Hebron and a preliminary agreement to resettle thousands of Palestinians who made claim to a "right of return". On the final day of the offer, Abbas never returned. Later, in 2015, Abbas admitted publicly that he turned it down.
2009 - Under pressure from the U.S. government, PM Netanyahu agreed to a 10 month settlement freeze as a means to encourage direct peace negotiations with the Palestinians. No peace talks occurred.
The Israelis have continuously expressed their desire to meet face to face with Palestinian leadership, any time and any place. The Palestinians refuse to meet unless Israel first agrees to a series of demands. Israel maintains that all issues need to be negotiated without pre-conditions. Talks never materialize. Instead of direct negotiations, the Palestinians appeal to global agencies, therefore by-passing the Israeli government.
Jane Hansen Hoyt