To the Editor:
Let’s remember that Israel is the only country that gave land to the Palestinians for their autonomous rule. Jordan and Egypt did not do so during the 19 years that they controlled the West Bank and Gaza, but Israel did so by withdrawing from Gaza four years ago. The Palestinian response was not peaceful coexistence, but missiles and terror.
Settlements are not the problem here. Israel has destroyed settlements and displaced its citizens from their homes in Gaza. But the Palestinians didn’t build peaceful towns in the settlements; they used them as missile launching pads.
The world needs to avoid distractions, like settlements and border details, and focus on Arab willingness to live in peace. Peace means no missiles, no terror, no kidnappings.
Until the Arabs are willing to accept peace, Israeli overtures will go the same way as the Gaza withdrawal.
Bruce Dov Krulwich
Beit Shemesh, Israel, June 3, 2009
To the Editor:
Re “Obama on Obama,” by Thomas L. Friedman (column, June 3):
If President Obama believes that “nowhere is truth-telling more important than the Middle East,” he should be telling the truth to the Palestinians on what is the most fundamental issue underlying the conflict: Israel is a Jewish state and Palestinian refugees will “return” to the nascent Palestinian state, not to Israel.
It is not sufficient to tell the Palestinians that they must stop incessant incitement against Israel and Jews. The truth goes much deeper than that. They must be told that the war of 1948 is truly over and that their future lies in building their own state. But this truth always seems too delicate to broach.
This is not an issue that can be shuffled off to final-status negotiations. If a meaningful peace process is to begin, Israelis must see that the Palestinians acknowledge Israel’s core issue, just as Israel is expected to acknowledge the Palestinians’ core issue.
Perhaps most important, the Palestinian leadership must embrace the truth in order to prepare its people for peace.
Gregg M. Mashberg
New Rochelle, N.Y., June 3, 2009
To the Editor:
Re “Israel and U.S. Can’t Close Split on Settlements” (front page, June 2):
This split stems from a significant disconnect that should not be chalked up to mere semantics. Rather, the descriptive language used in defining this split reveals its depth.
The Obama administration views the Israeli presence in the West Bank as unlawful because the settlements sit on occupied territory; the Netanyahu administration views the Israeli presence in the West Bank as lawful because the settlements sit on disputed territory.
Referring to all Jewish communities in the West Bank as “settlements” suggests that each is a far-reaching outpost isolated from Jewish population centers when many are just “suburbs” of Jerusalem. Only final borders arrived at through direct and unconditional negotiations among the principals will end this Israeli-United States split.
David S. Kasdan
Cortlandt Manor, N.Y., June 2, 2009
Thursday, June 04, 2009
Three Letters-to-the-Editor at the NYT