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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 5, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Israel and Palestine

No peace unless Israel has defensible borders

Cliff Churgin’s insightful article was quite informative [“Israelis grow increasingly anxious about Obama,” News, June 3]. Israel’s government leaders are rightly concerned that they will pay a price as the U.S. tries to reshape its image.

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal’s offer to Israel of a 10-year truce with clearly unacceptable conditions to both Israel and Western governments is a futile attempt to improve Hamas’ international image. Israel is right to insist that Hamas must first recognize Israel as a Jewish state and renounce terror. Hamas’ goal continues to be the phased destruction of Israel as called for in their charter.

The Obama administration is mistaken in believing that pressuring Israel to freeze settlement-building in Jerusalem and the West Bank will bring an end to the conflict. It will send the wrong message of appeasement to the terrorists and embolden them to force Israel out of existence with indefensible borders.

Since the West Bank is disputed territory, it is worth noting that before the West Bank was “occupied” by the Israelis in 1967, it was under Jordanian occupation, which started in 1948. Before that it was occupied by the British, who had the mandate to do so from the League of Nations. Prior to that it was part of the Ottoman Empire. A “Palestine state” never existed and Palestine cannot claim any territory as legitimately its own.

There will be no real peace if Israel does not have defensible borders and the freedom to live within them. That is why settlement activity must continue in the same fashion it has for the last five years. Any settlement freeze imposed on Israel is unrealistic and a fallacy.

— Josh Basson, Seattle

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