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Opinion

Opinion: Why the United States should just accept the status quo on Israel and the Palestinians

John Kerry
Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at the State Department in Washington on Wednesday.
(Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)

To the editor: At the root of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute is a civil war with two ethnic groups laying claim to the same territory: the Israel within the 1967 boundaries in addition to the security buffer and biblical claims to portions of the West Bank. (“Kerry pushes back on Israeli complaints, calls for revival of peace talks with Palestinians,” Dec. 28)

Looked through the civil war prism, history finds that resolution comes in two forms: military vanquishment of one side by the other or a stalemate so discomforting that contestants come to the bargaining table to strike a deal (for example, the resolution of Northern Ireland). Although Israel has the military capacity to eviscerate the Palestinians, it does not have the Bashar Assad-like moral compass to take such a step. The Palestinians arguably would be more inclined, but do not have the military wherewithal.

Given the absence of a mutually hurting stalemate (Israel remains economically and socially comfortable as Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza suck up their plight), there is no pressure to resolve the conflict through negotiation. The result: No mediation by the United States and no United Nations resolution will resolve the conflict. 

The status quo likely will continue for the foreseeable future, and the United States should learn to accept what it cannot change.

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Bennett Ramberg , Los Angeles

The writer served as a policy analyst in the State Department’s Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs in the George H.W. Bush administration.

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To the editor: I so admire Secretary of State John Kerry’s braveattempt to bring the government of Israel to its senses in pointing out that if it loses the two-state solution, Israel itself will collapse into a totalitarian state for the benefit of a minority of the residents. 

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Yet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu still says, “Decisions about Israel’s future won’t be made by speeches in Washington.” That is true, and that is the tragedy.

Netanyahu doesn’t seem to mind U.S. aid, however, higher for Israel than any other country in the world. If he doesn’t want our advice, perhaps he should not expect our cash.

Erica Hahn, Monrovia

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To the editor: President Obama campaigned on the slogan “yes we can” and conducted his presidency as “no I can’t.” And what is to be said about Kerry, other than that his reach always exceeded his grasp when it came to exercising foreign policy? 

If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, then this administration is the Good Intentions Paving Company. America will be well rid of them. Obama spent the last two years of his reign obsessed with his “legacy,” and now that it appears to be laughably slim, he petulantly engineers this U.N. resolution debacle. 

I didn’t vote for President-elect Donald Trump, but the people who did, chose to not because they are racist, but because he projected strength and seems to reject naivete for real-world common sense. Hopefully he will demonstrate that he truly has both qualities.

Michael Jenning, Van Nuys 

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