To the editor: Saree Makdisi should realize that “the moribund two-state solution” for the Israelis and Palestinians has been dealt several “final blows.” (“Benjamin Netanyahu’s reelection underlines Israel’s apartheid reality,” Opinion, April 10)
Going back to 1967, every one of Israel’s offers to make peace and relinquish territory have been rejected by the Palestinian leadership. Even after unilaterally withdrawing from the Gaza Strip in 2005, Hamas rockets have rained down on Israel.
The “two-state solution” is not dead because of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It is dead because there is no Palestinian leadership with which to negotiate. The various leaders of the Palestinian people refuse to make peace with each other. In fact, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas refuses to pay for electricity in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, making his fellow Palestinians’ lives even more miserable.
And since when did an “apartheid” state allow all its citizens to vote, as Israel does for the 20% of its people who are Arab? How does a Jewish apartheid state have affirmative action programs for Arabs and give equal access to healthcare, education, legal assistance and social services? What apartheid state would have Arab jurists appointed to its Supreme Court or have elected Arab legislators in its parliament?
Pauline Regev, Santa Monica
To the editor: This article illustrates why I boycotted the Israeli election.
As an Arab Palestinian citizen of Israel, I have no reason to be optimistic about my future in the country. If by simply exercising my basic democratic right to vote, I am posing a threat to Israel’s political order, as Netanyahu has hinted, then I can only imagine where my struggle for equal rights stands right now.
For Palestinians, it matters little who won the election. None of the leading candidates has a program for peace. None seeks to end the occupation, let alone the blockade of Gaza. All have committed to maintaining the illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. All have vowed not to sit in a government coalition with an Arab party.
The election has revealed the grim reality for Palestinians today. From the disenfranchisement of Palestinian citizens inside the country to the constant displacement of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, from the oppression of those living behind its apartheid wall to the routine humiliation of those living under its apartheid laws, Israel continues to brazenly deny us our basic rights.
Seraj Assi, Washington
To the editor: As a progressive American Jew, I sympathize with the frustrations felt by progressive Jewish and non-Jewish Israelis.
However, no one should be left with the impression that only Jewish citizens of Israel are allowed to vote. Although some Palestinian and other citizens in Israel are not allowed to vote, as some U.S. citizens are not allowed to vote, many Palestinians in Israel are registered voters.
Palestinians who choose to boycott Israeli elections have no one to blame but themselves for not exercising their rights.
Susan Wolfson, Glendale