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The key to Middle East peace is getting Palestinians to say 'yes'

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Slavish conformism to conventional wisdom has done practically nothing to resolve the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel, trapping the sides in a stalemate for decades. Yet, in The Sydney Morning Herald, academic Paul Duffill relied upon traditionally unhelpful cliches in his analysis of recent Australian developments vis-à-vis Israel and the Palestinians (“Gap between parties becomes a chasm on Middle East peace”).

A Palestinian protester throws back a teargas canister fired by Israeli soldiers during clashes on the border with Gaza.Credit:AP

According to his view, the Morrison government’s recognition of west Jerusalem as Israel’s capital undermined prospects for peace, while the federal Labor Party national conference call for a future ALP government to immediately recognise a Palestinian state bolstered it. A look at some basic recent history shows that, in reality, the opposite is true.

Besides grounding peace expectations in reality – west Jerusalem has been Israel’s capital since 1949 and is not occupied territory – Morrison’s announcement was no free kick for Israel. Rather, for the first time and in a measured way, Australia gave an explicit endorsement to the establishment of a Palestinian state with its capital in east Jerusalem should the Palestinians agree to peace with Israel.

This represented a clear incentive for Palestinian leaders to return to negotiations with Israel with the assurance that Palestinian national aspirations would have the backing of Australia –........

© The Sydney Morning Herald