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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 22, 2009 at 4:27 PM

Israeli, Palestinian conflict

Israel’s ‘half olive branch’ better than Palestine’s hate

I strongly disagree with your one-sided editorial [“Half an olive branch,” Opinion, June 19].

President Obama does not want to be seen as meddling in Iran’s internal affairs. Why does he want to engage in meddling in Israel’s internal affairs?

It is clear that Palestinian Arabs have had no intention to recognize Israel as a Jewish state or accept the proposed two-state solution for the past 60 years. As long as they hold to that position, Israel must be allowed to defend itself no matter how long it takes to end the conflict.

At least Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has offered half an olive branch. What have the Palestinian Arabs offered? Hatred and incitement to violence against Israeli civilians continues to be preached in mosques and taught in Palestinian schools.

Israel has far more legal right to the disputed territories. Their connection to the land has existed for centuries. The Jewish people are not suicidal and rightly will not accept a new radical state to exist adjacent to them, threatening their existence.

Calling for the administration to pressure Israel’s leader from his so-called “uncompromising position” is unacceptable and defies logic.

— Josh Basson, Seattle

Request for peace a hollow gesture

Thank you so much for the extremely clear picture you painted of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s request for peace with Palestine. If he offered half an olive branch, it was from one of the dead olive trees the Israeli Defense Forces have destroyed to put up settlements on Palestinian land.

— Linda Jansen, Seattle

Settlements are not blocking peace

Your editorial again raised the red-herring issue of Israeli settlements.

If Israeli presence on the West Bank was the obstacle to peace, there should have been peace from Israel’s founding in 1948 until it captured that territory from Jordanian occupation in the defensive war of 1967.

If settlements were the obstacle to peace, Israel would have experienced peace on its southern border since dismantling its towns and withdrawing its civilian and military presence from the Gaza Strip almost four years ago. If settlements are the obstacle, then their removal should have brought peace and prosperity instead of suicide bombers, indiscriminate rocket attacks and murderous incitement.

In light of the record, how can anyone still believe that settlements are the obstacle to peace between Israel and the Palestinians?

— Nevet Basker, Bellevue

It’s Palestine’s turn to make sacrifices toward peace

The Seattle Times’ editorial writers missed the most important point of Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech. This so-called hard-liner Israeli prime minister has recognized and accepted the Palestinian’s quest for an independent state.

When will the Palestinians recognize Israel’s right to exist and accept Israel as a Jewish state? The settlement question is not the obstacle to peace; the obstacle is the recognition or lack of recognition of the state of Israel by the Arab states.

Each time the Palestinians are offered a chance for a homeland, they have found a reason not to accept. The settlements are simply another excuse not to come to the table and map out a plan. If the Palestinians truly want a homeland than they will negotiate. Israel has made this offer all too many times in the past.

Until actual borders are set for a Palestinian state, which can be established when the Palestinian leaders come to the table with Israel, Israeli is not obligated to dismantle any settlements. The settlements do not preclude the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state anymore than the 1.2 million Israeli Arabs (living as full citizens in Israel) preclude the contiguity of the Jewish state.

Israel dismantled all the settlements in Gaza and pulled all Israelis out of Gaza only to have its citizens live under constant rocket attacks. It’s time now for the Palestinians to make sacrifices as the Israelis have done if a homeland is truly what they want.

— Iris Langman, Mercer Island

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