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Opinion

Opinion: Allaying the fears of Israeli moderates is the key to Mideast peace

US to move of Embassy to Jerusalem, Israel - 22 May 2017
President Trump touches the Western Wall in East Jerusalem during his May visit to Israel.
(Ronen Zvulun / Pool Photo)

To the editor: I have a bone to pick with both President Trump and UCLA professor Saree Makdisi: Neither Trump’s ill-conceived proposition to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, nor Makdisi’s anti-Israel rant, is helpful in finding a peaceful and just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (“Trump delivers a death blow to the two-state solution,” Opinion, Dec. 7)

The key is giving the people of Israel, primarily its moderates and progressives, reason to trust that if they let down their guard, they will no longer face annihilation.

Makdisi’s inaccurate and hateful use of the words “apartheid” (repeatedly) and “ethnic cleansing,” his opining that Israel’s claim to Jerusalem is tenuous (ignoring the Jewish people’s 3,000-year connection to the land), and his omission of the fact that the “wall” Israel constructed stopped terrorist bombings only serve to alienate those in Israel inclined to compromise, thus ensuring the continuation of Palestinian misery.

Stop the hate speech, stop rewards paid to Palestinian terrorists, remove anti-Jewish clauses in the Hamas charter, and give Israeli moderates (potentially a majority) some reason to take a risk, and we can still find a path to a two-state solution.

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Jerry Glass, Lakewood

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To the editor: I am an American Jew. I have been to Israel and have always supported it as a home for the Jewish people. I am also strongly in favor of creating a separate state for the Palestinians.

Trump’s decision extinguished any chance of a two-state solution. The status of Jerusalem as a national capital was one of the strongest bargaining chips in a negotiation for a lasting peace. The “great negotiator” has given that away only for the praise of evangelical Christians and right-wing Jews.

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Trump simply made a political call that might help him with his base.
Jay Slater, Los Angeles

Right now, Prime Minister Benajmin Netanyahu and an ultra-right minority govern a true apartheid state. Continued settlement construction in occupied territory infuriates the Palestinians. Go through the 20-foot high wall that creates parts of the nation’s border, and the conclusion is inescapable: The Netanyahu government is completely content with the status quo.

Trump simply made a political call that might help him with his base. He did not listen to the advice of his own team.

Jay Slater, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Makdisi states that Israel captured western Jerusalem in 1948 “by force” and eastern Jerusalem in 1967 “by force.”

Curiously, he omits the fact that both times, Israel was attacked by its neighbors, whose avowed aim was to annihilate it, and captured these territories in self-defense. Thus, it isn’t violence that Makdisi condemns, but the unforgivable sin of Israel’s survival.

Jerusalem has been Israel’s capital since 1949, and all of its government institutions are located there. No serious peace plan envisions Israel not having its capital there, even if the Palestinians ultimately gain a capital in Jerusalem as well. Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital therefore shouldn’t impede peace efforts — if the Palestinians really want peace.

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But it does force the Palestinians to confront the reality that Israel is here to stay.

Stephen A. Silver, San Francisco

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To the editor: Had Trump at the same time recognized East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital (or at least potential capital), this gesture would have gone a long way toward creating peace and justice in the region. Of course this wouldn’t help him with his evangelical base here in the U.S., which he desperately needs to hold.

One forgets that in 1947, the United Nations specified that Jerusalem, home to three monotheistic religions, was to be an open city administered by the U.N.

Barbara Gravesen, Lady Lake, Fla.

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