Letters to the Editor: This is what makes peace between the Israelis and Palestinians impossible

Israeli soldiers, foreground, monitor a crowd on a hilltop bearing a Palestinian flag
Israeli troops monitor a demonstration against West Bank settlement expansion in the village of Beita on March 2, 2020.
(Majdi Mohammed / Associated Press)

To the editor: Columnist Nicholas Goldberg would do well to heed the words of Aaron David Miller, a longtime American negotiatior between the Israelis and the Palestinians, that “we did not see the world the way it was.” (“The long, slow demise of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and why it’s not coming back soon,” Opinion, Feb. 21)

The biggest impediments to peace are geography and Palestinian politics. There are two physically separated geographical entities that would make up a Palestinian state (the Gaza Strip and Judea and Samaria, known as the West Bank), with no land bridge between them. How do you join them? There has never been a serious proposal about that between any of the parties involved.

As for Palestinian politics, there is serious enmity between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. There is no way that there would be any collaboration between them now or in the future. Also consider that their charters call for the abolition of the Jewish state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.


That’s the world that Goldberg needs to see.

Emanuel R. Baker, Los Angeles


To the editor: Many thanks to Goldberg for calling for renewed efforts toward Palestinian-Israeli peace. His column notes the suffering on both sides and the shared culpability, but a major factor is missing: the vast power differential in which Israel has a crushing advantage over the Palestinians.

The numbers reveal a disturbing inequity. For instance, in fiscal year 2018, the United States provided Israel with more than $3.1 billion in military aid and gave the Palestinians exactly $0. Since September 2000, about 1,300 Israelis have been killed compared with about 10,000 Palestinians, according to organizations that monitor Israeli-Palestinian violence.

This raises serious questions: Should the U.S., with its one-sided commitment, be the broker in peace talks? And where does the major responsibility lie when one side holds the power and the other suffers an outsize share of casualties?

Any call for negotiations should bring these issues to the fore.

Barbara Erickson, Berkeley