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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Why Trump is right to say Israeli settlements in the West Bank are legal

Israeli and U.S. flags fly over a Jewish settlement in 2017.
The Old City of Jerusalem serves as a backdrop for Israeli and U.S. flags flying on a roof in the Jewish settlement of Nof Zion in December 2017.
(Abir Sultan / EPA/Shutterstock)

To the editor: The L.A. Times Editorial Board states that there’s little doubt that the Israeli settlements in the West Bank “are provocative, illegitimate and an obstacle — perhaps an insurmountable obstacle — to a two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Perhaps the board is unaware that in 2008, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered to return nearly all the land claimed by the Palestinians plus extra land in Israel. The Palestinians refused this offer without a counteroffer.

This was not the first time the Palestinians refused to consider Israel’s peace offers that included returning land. In 2000, then-Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat rejected a deal with Israel initiated by his historic handshake with Yitzhak Rabin years earlier on the White House lawn. The only conclusion one can draw is that the Palestinians cannot respond to any offer made by Israel.

It seems that Israel must agree to discontinue being a Jewish state for the Palestinians come to the bargaining table in good faith. Accordingly, any suggestion that the settlements are an impediment to peace is willful obfuscation.

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Larry Shapiro, Rancho Mirage

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To the editor: The damage that the Trump administration is doing to the prospects for Mideast peace is phenomenal.

Basically, President Trump has given Israel the green light to annex all of the occupied Palestinian territories. Israel will probably decline to annex a few large Palestinian population centers under the pretext of encouraging Palestinian autonomy. The ineluctable fact is that Israel is an apartheid state.

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Trump’s decision is another example of him using his presidential authority and power to subvert long-standing U.S. policies. He wants to assist his 2020 reelection campaign by throwing red meat to his fanatical Christian fundamentalist base.

Arch Miller, Arcadia

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To the editor: Your editorial does not mention that the closest we have come to a solution on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was in 2000, when President Clinton got close to an agreement that included annexing some of the Israeli settlements to Israel. The Palestinians blocked this compromise.

The result was the eventual rise of Benjamin Netanyahu as Israel’s prime minister, 19 years of conflict and an increased settlement population.

Has the editorial board forgotten this history? Or is the board blinded by its dislike of Trump and anything he does?

Steve Murray, Huntington Beach

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To the editor: Why now? Why is the U.S. government changing its position with regard to international law on the question of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank after more than 40 years of both Democratic and Republican administrations saying otherwise?

Is this just another impulsive move on the part of our president?

Jim DeHarpporte, San Diego


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