Ready to talk peace? – myths and facts

“We are ready to talk peace but the Palestinians are not sincere about wanting peace.”

  • The leaked Palestine papers clearly demonstrate that the Palestinian leadership is in desperate search of a settlement.
  • In the 20 years since the Madrid peace talks started, the Israelis have more than doubled the number of settlers in the West Bank from 230,000 to over half a million
  • When Netanyahu’s former vice-premier Moshe Ya’alon was asked why Israeli governments went in for “all these games of make-believe negotiations”, he replied: “You have to create the illusion that an agreement can be reached.  Time works for those who make use of it…. and we in government know how to make use of time.”
  • Netanyahu’s ex-head of Shin Bet, Yuval Diskin, said: “We are not talking to the Palestinians because this (Israeli) government has no interest in negotiations…no interest in solving anything with the Palestinians. And I say this with certainty.”[1]
  • In 1973 in a letter to a friend, which he thought would never be published, Ariel Sharon said his strategy was to make the West Bank like a pastrami sandwich: “We’ll insert a strip of Jewish settlements in between the Palestinians and then another strip right across the West Bank so that, in 25 years, neither the United Nations, nor the US, nobody, will be able to tear it apart.”
  • 25 years later, in 1998, when his pastrami sandwich was already a reality,Sharon was secretly recorded telling a group of religious party youth activists: “Everybody has to grab as many hilltops as they can to enlarge the settlements because everything we take now will stay ours… Everything we don’t grab will go to them.”


  • The minutes of the Palestinian Negotiation Support Unit published by Al Jazeera, known as the Palestine Papers, gave an insight into the Palestinian negotiating position: they were ready to make huge concessions to arrive at a draft peace agreement and were widely condemned for being ready to give too much away.[1]
  • The Israelis tell the outside world they are interested in peace, but they use peace talks as cover for extending settlements and absorbing more Palestinian land. They are gradually taking over all land designated under Oslo as Area C, which is 60% of the West Bank, which would leave only unconnected islands or “bantustans” under Palestinian control.
  • Israelis play a long game, always saying they want “a little more”. In the 1920s they wanted Jewish neighbourhoods, in the 1930s a Jewish-Arab commonwealth, in the 1940s a state, in the 1970s a few settlements in the West Bank, in the 80s a few more. Now they are gradually taking over Area C and if they succeed, Palestinians will be left not with 22% but 13% of historic Palestine
  • A former legal adviser to the Palestinian Liberation Organization, Mr Ziyad Clot, states that “There will be no Palestinian State” as it is practically impossible by now.[2]


Contact Details

This briefing has been produced by Martin Linton, Sally Fitzharris and Taris Ahmad. For further questions please contact:

Martin Linton,

Sally Fitzharris,

Taris Ahmad,

Further information

Map of West Bank settlement

Trajectory of the Wall


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