Jump Start for Mideast Peace Talks

Prof. Stephen Spiegel's call (Commentary, March 4) for "a dramatic gesture" by the Arabs as a stimulus to the Israeli electorate to more strongly support the peace process is certainly constructive. As he points out, the semi-democratic structure of Israel enables external signals to influence internal political processes.

I'd like to attach two amendments to his proposal for this grand concession:

First, let's take the rest of the Arab countries out of the equation and concentrate on the core of the problem--the Israelis and the Palestinians. The occupied Golan Heights and southern Lebanon are separate issues. If a situation comes about that allows the Palestinians to proclaim that a just resolution of the conflict has been found, that would remove the basis for anti-Israel stances in the Arab world.

Second, focusing on a peace agreement between Israel and a Palestine-to-be, let's explore what grand gesture or concession to the people of Israel the Palestinians can make. They can't offer land for peace; they control none. They can't offer to reduce their military threat; they pose none. The Palestinians have already given the only thing they had to bargain with. They made the ultimate concession when they acknowledged Israel's existence and right to security--conditional, of course, upon the same rights for the Palestinians. The only thing more that some Israelis want of the Palestinians is that they go away.

So where does that leave us? As Spiegel suggests, only a grand gesture will move the process. But, in the Israeli-Palestinian equation, only Israel is able to make a move. And what grander gesture could it possibly make than supporting the same rights to self-determination and statehood for the Palestinians that the Jewish people have realized in the creation of Israel?


American-Arab Anti-Discrimination

Committee, Los Angeles Chapter

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