November 27, 2012
Chuck Freilich is correct that the prospects for peace between Israel and the Palestinians are small. But in his entire piece he neglects to mention the root cause of the problem: the Israeli occupation and colonization of the West Bank and its blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Instead of facing the facts on the ground, Freilich blames Palestinian ideology. He misses Israeli ideology that says Israel has rights to all the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.
Contrary to what Freilich says, the United States can make a significant difference. But to do that, the U.S. must make its support of Israel conditional on achieving peace.
La Habra Heights
Freilich, a former Israeli government official, argues persuasively that President Obama should not attempt to restart peace negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians. He cites previous peacemaking failures as well as widespread tensions in the region. The threat of increasing rocket attacks by terrorist groups on Israel's borders, however, also indicates a need for a positive step away from violence.
What if the U.S. proposed that the United Nations designate Jerusalem an internationally sacred city open equally to all Jews, Muslims and Christians? Jerusalem should be a sacred community where these related religions can come together in peace, not the political capital of any one nation.
Freilich says this is not the right time to continue seeking a two-state solution. In my opinion that time has long passed.
The late Israeli statesman Abba Eban famously said that the Palestinians "never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity," but it is Israel that passed up its best opportunity for peace in 1979, when Egyptian President Anwar Sadat had the courage to sign a peace treaty. He got the Sinai Peninsula back, but the Arab League expelled Egypt and he was assassinated two years later.
Israel could have joined its new ally to form a Palestinian state on the West Bank and in Gaza. Instead, the Israelis allowed settlers to occupy the West Bank and prevent any hope for peace, unless we believe in miracles.
Martin J. Weisman
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