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Our Wednesday News Analysis | Dear President Biden: The Elders' open letter on Israel and Palestine
Published November 16, 2023
On 16 November 2023, The Elders delivered an open letter to the President of the United States, Joe Biden, on Israel and Palestine.
Download the open letter and read in full below.
Dear President Biden
You have a historic opportunity to help end the Israel-Palestine conflict - permanently.
As polarisation increases, the world needs you to set out a vision for peace. That vision must give hope to those who reject extremism and want the violence to end.
We urge you to do two things: set out a serious peace plan, and help build a new coalition for peace to deliver it.
We understand you want to help make Israelis safe. We share that objective, and have condemned the horrific Hamas attacks of 7 October. We share too your commitment to the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination. Palestinian and Israeli lives are of equal worth.
Destroying Gaza and killing civilians are not making Israelis safe. These actions will breed more terrorism, across the region and beyond. There is no military solution to this conflict.
The violence is already feeding antisemitism and islamophobia, including in the USA. It undermines your other objectives in the Middle East, Ukraine and elsewhere.
US credibility and interests across the world are at stake...
By Carolina Landsmann
Published Noveber 17, 2023
Settlers marching to the evacuated West Bank outpost of Homesh last May.Credit: Moti Milrod
This column isn’t about Hamas. It doesn’t address the question of what Hamas wants and doesn’t try to put the events of October 7 into their historical context, much less into their moral context. What’s theirs is theirs.
This column also isn’t about the more general question of what the Palestinians want and where their struggle is leading them. Nor does it try to ask where they plan to go after October 7, even though if I were a Palestinian, I would be talking about this and only this – what do we want? Where are we heading? What life and what world do we want for our children?
This column is strictly about Israel, and its million-dollar question – what does Israel want to do with the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the millions of stateless Palestinians who live in them?
Anyone who says it’s impossible to completely separate the questions this column isn’t asking from the ones it is would be correct. After all, the desires of both peoples influence and are influenced by each other.
Nor is the reciprocal influence of both people’s desires the only thing that makes it hard to answer this question. There’s also the question of whether there even is such a thing as “Israel’s desire,” and if it is a single desire rather than being as fractured as its people. And that was true even before the deep incisions left by October 7, which, for many people, still hasn’t ended 40 days later, like a nightmare from which you can’t wake up...
By Jonathan Cook
Published November 21, 2023
Israel is openly carrying out ethnic cleansing inside Gaza, driving Palestinians outside their homeland as happened in 1948. And yet, just as during the first “Nakba”, Israel's lies and deceptions dominate the West’s media and political narrative.
Palestinians in Gaza flee Israeli bombing towards the south, 7 November 2023. (Photo by Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu via Getty Images)
History is repeating itself – and every politician and establishment journalist is pretending they cannot see what is staring them in the face. There is a collective and wilful refusal to join the dots in Gaza, even when they point in one direction only.
There has been a consistent pattern to Israel’s behaviour since its creation 75 years ago – just as there has been a consistent pattern to the “see no evil, hear no evil” response of western powers.
In 1948, in events the Palestinians call their “Nakba”, or Catastrophe, 80 percent of Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from their lands in what became the self-declared Jewish state of Israel.
As Palestinians maintained at the time – and Israeli historians later confirmed from archival documents – Israel’s leaders lied when they said Palestinians had fled of their own volition, on the orders of neighbouring Arab states.
As the historians also discovered, Israeli leaders lied when they claimed that they had pleaded, first, with the 900,000 Palestinians inside the new state’s borders to stay and, later, with the 750,000 forced into exile to return home...
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