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The Media Line peace challenge

Without exception, Israel’s spokespeople tell the world’s media that in the late summer of 2000, then Prime Minister Ehud Barak went further than any of his predecessors in terms of concessions to the Palestinians.

That is certainly true, at least of any talks that were publicized.

But that does not mean the Israeli search for a lasting peace with the Palestinians and the Arab world ended with Yassir Arafat’s rejection of the Barak proposal.

As recently as last night Israeli negotiators were offering to pull Israeli troops back to their September 2000 positions on a gradual basis, beginning in Gaza and then moving to Jericho and then through the other cities in the West Bank.

The only reported precondition Israel laid down, was that the Palestinian Authority do what it can to stop the terror.

The spokesman for Chairman Arafat, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, said the Palestinian team had rejected the offer. The Israeli proposal was “impossible to accept or even to implement,” he said after the meeting.

Given the number of occasions Israel has made similar offers of withdrawals, ceasefires and territorial compromises since 1967, an objective onlooker may come to the conclusion that the Palestinians are less than flexible.

The Palestinian line seems to have changed little, if at all, since the Arab League met in Sudan in August and September of 1967, when it adopted the Khartoum Resolution, which declared NO to peace with Israel, NO to recognition of Israel and NO to negotiations with Israel.

The Media Line challenges anyone to prove otherwise.