Forman & Son MD Lance Forman feels peace in Israel will benefit everyone

PUBLISHED: 10:07 11 January 2017 | UPDATED: 10:07 11 January 2017


In December the UN Security Council passed a resolution critical of Israel for settlement building in the disputed territories of the West Bank.

The USA abstained rather than voted with Israel, seemingly a change in US policy – before Trump changes it back again – and the UK also supported the resolution.

However, only a few days later, when Secretary of State John Kerry set out his government’s rationale in a speech, also heavily critical of Israel, the UK backtracked and unusually criticised the USA.

Theresa May and her government were right to criticise Kerry and wrong to have gone along with the UN resolution in the first place. The Australians have said that they would not have voted against Israel if they had the chance.

The fact is, these settlements are less than two per cent of the land which the international community recognises should be part of Palestine and the leaders on both sides have recognised that if a deal was ever to be done, it is quite likely these would remain in Israel as swapped for land currently in Israel which could become part of a future Palestine. The settlement issue is not the reason peace has failed between Israel and the Palestinians. From the first day Israel gained its independence, in 1948, it was attacked by its Arab neighbours, before any settlements existed. The same thing happened in 1956 and 1967, again before settlements existed and so on.

The answer to this part of the Middle East dispute is in some ways very simple. Palestinians need to recognise that Israel is the home of the Jewish people and they have the right to live there peacefully and securely. The challenge is that Palestinian leaders cannot recognise this, because they are attacked by extremists on the Palestinian side who simply want Israel removed from the map.

The West should help moderates in their efforts to engage in this positive way. Peace is in everyone’s interests. More from Lance

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