Israeli novelist David Grossman is working with Algerian writer Boualem Sansal to launch a writers' drive for world peace at the World Forum For Democracy in Strasbourg this week.
Their initiative is reportedly supported by some of the most respected names in literature including Claudio Magris, Antonio Lobo Antunes, and Liao Yiwu.
The Forum brings together reformers and global leaders to identify democratic responses to the economic, social and political challenges, which affect societies today.
The writers - in their quest to end conflict and bring peace to the world - have naturally included the resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict within their purview.
However the views they express are indeed surprising - parroting Arab propaganda rather than relying on careful research - the indispensable tool normally used by writers of such distinction and undoubted repute.
They begin by stating: Israel maintains the Palestinians under occupation for more than 45 years, and this inhuman and immoral situation must stop.
All the Palestinian Arabs residing in Gaza are under the total administrative and security control of a Hamas dominated government following Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005.
Our well intended authors are also apparently unaware that pursuant to arrangements mutually negotiated between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) under the 1993 Oslo Accords – 55 per cent of the Palestinian Arabs residing in the West Bank are under the total administrative and security control of the PA government - while another 41 per cent are under the total administrative control of the PA government and joint security control of the PA and Israel.
Elections in the West Bank and Gaza were last held in 2006. Since then Hamas and the PA have been at each other’s jugulars. President Abbas’s use by date as PA president expired in 2009. Democracy is nowhere to be seen.
Suggesting Israel’s occupation is “inhuman and immoral” in the light of these facts is pure fiction.
The statement continues: Both sides are putting unrealistic conditions to resume negotiations…
Are they serious? Israel has been offering to return to negotiations with the PA without any preconditions. It is the PA that is refusing to negotiate unless Israel stops building in the West Bank.
David Singer is an Australian Lawyer, a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International - an organisation calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine. Previous articles written by him can be found at www.jordanispalestine.blogspot.com.