Dan Nichols, Romford
Sean Matgamna claims in one of the two pieces he wrote on Israel/Palestine in the last issue of Solidarity that Israel offered to pull out of the occupied territories in exchange for peace with the Arab states in September 1967. As far as I can work out, this is not true.
Israel did make an offer to the US to pull out of some of the territories that it had occupied in the Six Day War in June 1967, but this offer was never communicated to any of the Arab states and was formally abandoned by the Israeli cabinet in October of that year. Crucially, the West Bank and the Gaza strip were never included in that offer. Only the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights were ever included as part of that proposed deal. Maybe Sean has better historical sources than I do, but I can find no evidence of any peace bid made by the Israelis in September 1967.
This brings me on to Sean's response to Mark Osborn of the road map. As I write, the road map looks dead in the water, with the Israeli government debating whether to murder Arafat, or just exile him! The weakness in Sean's argument was, I feel, his complete failure to mention Israel's proposed "Separation Wall", the key issue in Israeli/Palestinian relations at the moment. The fact that the wall was never even mentioned in the document was proof of its utter inadequacy as a basis for peace. How could the US propose that the Palestinians look the other way whilst so much of their arable land was being annexed? Ultimately, such a sham could not prove a lasting basis for a ceasefire.
Sean has a disturbing tendency in his articles to bemoan the obstinacy of the Palestinians and the Arabs whilst talking up the flexibility of Israel and the US. This only serves to lay us open to more jibe from the kitsch left that we are somehow secretly "pro-imperialist". Our two state programme should be based on support for the Palestinian struggle for a homeland alongside Israel. It shouldn't be used as an excuse to back handedly denigrate them.