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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 23, 2009 at 3:59 PM

Israeli, Palestinian conflict

Firsthand experience: more action needed from Israel

I very much appreciated your editorial, “Netanyahu offers half an olive branch” [Opinion, June 19].

As someone who lived and worked in Jerusalem for five years, bringing Israeli and Palestinian young people together in a peace program based on reconciliation and dialogue, I learned firsthand that bringing peace will take more than humanizing the enemy and forgiveness. It will take recognition of the inequalities that dominate the conflict and a determination to address them. In a word, justice.

Your editorial does much to highlight this and, indeed, to expose how detrimental the current Israeli administration’s policies are to a possibility for sustainable peace. I echo your call for our administration to use its special relationship with Israel to put real pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, beyond its current call of freezing settlement expansion.

It was refreshing to read this in the pages of The Seattle Times.

— Jen Marlowe, Seattle

Imbalance defines Israel, Palestine’s relationship

Your editorial touches on some of the gross imbalance of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ideas for peace between Israel and Palestine. The Times’ opinion boldly begins to look at the question: What is fair?

An overly simple but useful way to look at the fairness of any proposal for peace between Israel and Palestine is to substitute one name for the other in whatever is being proposed, and see what that looks like.

Clearly, a huge part of any fair-peace agreement will have to address the gross imbalance of the current situation. Substitute the words “Israel” and “Palestine” in reference to the current map of the region, or foreign aid received from the U.S., for example, to get an idea of how great that is.

— David Rosenbaum, Seattle

Israel only protecting itself from hate

The Times editorial criticizing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech is clearly speaking from the comfort of a safe, uncontested and unthreatened home. After years of unprovoked attacks on their homes, schools, holiday celebrations and buses, Israeli families need more than a promise that these attacks may stop. Some basic steps would reduce tension.

Since World War II, Israel has helped resettle many of the nearly 1 million Jewish refugees from Arab countries. It is high time Arab countries help resettle the Palestinians displaced at the same time.

More than a million Palestinians are full citizens of Israel. Arab countries must stop labeling Jewish settlers as enemies. For the most part, they are simply families living and working their land just like their neighbors. If a state is to be established, the goal should be peaceful acceptance of all who live on both on both sides of the border.

The Arabs must cease demonizing Israel and all Jews in their schoolbooks, TV shows and political rhetoric. Harassment, discrimination and violence driving Palestinian Christians out of their native land must stop. People cannot be enemies and expect peace.

Families of all nationalities want to live without fear. Until that condition is met, no international demands would make sense.

— Carolyn Hathaway, Bellevue

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