Letters: Shimon Peres’ formula for peace
Israeli President Shimon Peres says the “defining moment” for his people is their exodus from Egypt “and journey to freedom in our homeland.” Similarly, he cites “the Pilgrims who sailed aboard the Mayflower” and “sought freedom in their new promised land.”
Peoples define themselves by their own narratives. These two foundation myths are powerful ones for Jews and Americans. On Passover and on the Fourth of July, I myself celebrate these milestones that define my identity.
Yet other peoples have their own powerful narratives. Indigenous nations are visited and conquered, forever transforming and obliterating their independence. One nation’s deliverance is another’s humiliation.
It is all well and good that Peres speaks in favor of “two states for two peoples living side by side in mutual recognition, security and peace.” But at this precipitously late date, his words sound like pabulum for public consumption, an unrealizable goal in the face of zealots and facts on the ground that are all but irreversible by peaceful means. At the same time, a single secular state seems equally chimerical.
How this will unfold, no one knows. I expect it will require some medicine far stronger than empty bromides.
Eric A. Gordon
Peres’ lofty goals merit commendation.
However, the concept of “two states for two peoples” does not directly follow from the hope that there are enough people in the Middle East who want freedom for others as well as for themselves. In fact, “one state for one people” has not in the recent past been a path to a peaceful way of life within several Middle Eastern states.
Until evidence emerges that there is sufficient mutual respect and a desire for peace among those within individual Middle Eastern states, it seems unreasonable to expect that “two states for two peoples” will soon occur between Israel and the Palestinians.
The challenge is to develop mutual respect.
Unfortunately, the surrounding Arab states don’t have leaders with Peres’ qualities. Of course most people would like a two-state solution to resolve this conflict peacefully, but for the near term the Palestinian leadership has relegated itself to being a footnote in history.
We’re still waiting for an Arab Shimon Peres to stand up.
Peres’ piece was an insult and embarrassment to all thinking, fair-minded readers. Not once in his high-minded epistle did he even suggest that Israel is one of the most oppressive nations in the world, denying freedom to millions of Palestinians while stealing their land and embargoing and blockading them in the Gaza Strip.
And I, as an American citizen, resent my tax dollars and my government supporting this kind of tyranny.
Marietta D. Luce
A cure for the common opinion
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