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Trust the people

John Lynes, Hastings

Please reassure Norman Finkelstein (PN 2567) that John Kerry’s framework agreement will not put paid to Palestinian hopes. Both the Israeli knesset and the Palestinian authority have made it clear that their acceptance of any agreement will be subject to referendums. There would be no point in offering a framework which could not be supported by reasonable people in both communities.

I was disappointed to see Norman’s interview on the front page of Peace News. I have not seen Kerry’s Framework Agreement. Neither has Norman. But it’s likely to offer the best prospect yet for a just peace in the Israel-Palestine conflict. Peace News should welcome it. Prophets of nonviolence and reconciliation long to bring peace and hope to the Middle East. They need our support – now!

Gloom-mongering intellectuals don’t belong on your front page.

Peace and love

Editor Response: 

Thank you, John, for drawing attention to the role of ordinary Palestinians. When Norman Finkelstein was asked, in his original New Left Project interview in January, whether Palestinians would resist ‘a renunciation of the right of return’, he replied: ‘This scenario is more romantic theory than current reality. The place is hopelessly fragmented. Gaza itself is alien to the West Bank now. What did the West Bankers do when Gazans were being massacred in 2008-09? Were there large demonstrations? We have to be realistic about the current situation. There’s no concerted will among Palestinians. They’re real, living persons, not a myth. Right now, the people’s spirits are shattered.... as of now, there aren’t visible signs that Palestinians are ready, able or willing to resist an imposed solution.

‘Quite the contrary, if the final agreement is sufficiently nebulous to the untutored eye (like the 1993 Oslo agreement), and is sweetened with a huge “aid” package, Palestinians might, however reluctantly, go for it. The US/EU will have three years to soften the Palestinians.’

Repeated leaks in the Israeli press and elsewhere about the Kerry framework support Norman Finkelstein’s charge that the main Israeli settlements are going to be excluded from Palestinian control in any new ‘state’. Finkelstein deserves to be heard. We still believe his warnings deserve front page treatment. If he is proven wrong, no one will be happier than us, but the evidence so far is thoroughly alarming. – eds

PS We should alert readers to the fact that John Lynes, who has spent a lot of time in Hebron as part of Christian Peacemaker Teams, has a lot of material on the Israel-Palestine conflict on his website: