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Letters for the week of Jan. 27, 2017

It’s not clear what 2-state solution would look like

Dan Pine is a pretty knowledgeable journalist. However, his cover article “Bay Area Jews ponder shaky future for two-state solution” (Jan. 20) promulgates a serious fallacy when he writes “Negotiators already know what a two-state solution would look like.”

The so-called “solution” — 1967 borders with land swaps, Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, resolution of the Palestinian “right of return,” etc. — represents only what Western-oriented negotiators and some others think the two-state solution should look like.

The Palestinians have never accepted this as a basis for peace, and it’s starting to look like the Israelis are not accepting it either.

The Palestinians have continually sought to obtain what is often quoted as “all their legitimate rights.” They have not shown a willingness to compromise on any of these “rights” and have not accepted the aforementioned basis for a peace agreement.

Many Israelis have agreed with the basic approach, but, like it or not, a growing number do not. So a number of Israelis (and apparently the new government of President Trump) are seriously considering other arrangements between Israel and the Palestinians, some of which do not include a two-state solution envisioned by the above-mentioned negotiators.

Promulgation of this fallacy has been going on for years, despite the reality of its non-acceptance by the Palestinian leadership. It’s time that journalists stop doing that.

Joel Ackerman, Richmond


Blueprint for peace?

My letter is in response to last week’s cover story, “Bay Area Jews ponder shaky future for two-state solution” (Jan. 20).

Like a Rorschach test, perceptions of the likelihood of a two-state solution depend on the question and the orientation of the respondent.

An alternative to reporter Dan Pine’s lens reveals considerable trust-building at the grassroots level between Israelis and Palestinians.

More than 100 Israeli and Palestinian NGOs are forging relationships around a shared, civil society.

In 2016, some 2 million Israelis watched “Silver Platter,” a documentary TV series that clarified linkages between Israeli economic policies, the occupation and settlements. Israel has the highest poverty rate (21.7 percent) of all developed countries, according to a recent report.

Last October’s March of Hope, organized throughout Israel by Women Wage Peace, included 30,000 Mizrachi, Ashkenazi, settler, religious and secular followers calling for a just Israeli-Palestinian agreement to be a government priority.

In addition, legislation in Congress calls for the United States to join other countries in contributing to a $200 million a year to the International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace (this is like the fund established for Northern Ireland that led to the Good Friday Agreement in 1998).

Quoting Michael Sfard, Israeli human rights advocate: “… Historical processes do not necessarily follow a linear path. One day the occupation will end … as the Berlin Wall fell … I only know the struggle has not ended … for the character of Israeli society.”

Molly Freeman, Berkeley
Co-chair, J Street S.F. Bay Area Chapter


The wrong kind of ‘pro-Israel’ thinking

On the one hand, Andrew Silow-Carroll writes that Obama was “the wrong kind of pro-Israel for the times” (Jan. 20). On the other, he writes “Obama represented a way of being pro-Israel — call it liberal Zionism.”

If both are true, the corollary is that liberal Zionism is the wrong kind of pro-Israel. I don’t think the author intended to lead readers to this conclusion, but the reality proves that it’s not too farfetched.

Obama’s “parting gift[s] to the liberal Zionists” — United Nation Security Council Resolution 2334, Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech in support of the resolution, his appointment of Ben Rhodes, who was instrumental to the Iran deal, to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum council — all speak volumes about a “wrong kind of pro-Israel” thinking.

As for liberal Zionism, especially its American brand embodied in J Street, its main mantra has been the insistence that Israel must withdraw its settlements, which will allow the Jewish state to live happily thereafter.

But the settlements have never been the main obstacle to peace, which has been clearly illustrated by the Gaza withdrawal fiasco. The crux of the conflict is Palestinian belligerence. Unfortunately, both Obama and liberal Zionists have never addressed that head-on.

Vladimir Kaplan, San Mateo


Zero empathy for Israel

Germany, France, Britain and Spain are among the countries that voted for U.N. Resolution 2334, which declares that the Temple Mount is on Palestinian land. And yes, those European votes certainly do make quite a statement!

However, the image of the Israeli flag on the Brandenburg Gate and condemnations of the recent Palestinian terror attack do nothing to reduce terror and are most assuredly “optics” rather than indicators of empathy for Israel. In fact, European votes for 2334 indicate the diametric opposite of empathy for the Jewish state.

Only by condemning individual terror attacks against Jews can Europeans rationalize that their recent betrayal of Israel at the U.N. does not reveal shocking, willing participation in a contemporary manifestation of the world’s most enduring ancient hatred.

Julia Lutch, Davis


A diabolical plan?

I’ve heard a Muslim saying that goes, “First the Saturday people, then the Sunday people.”

As a result of the U.S. abstaining on the recent U.N. Security Council’s anti-Israel resolution, the Saturday people have been informed that their 3,000-year Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem (and other areas) are now illegally occupied Palestinian land.

If Palestinians can get the U.N. and friends like Obama to criminalize Jewish presence, then are the Sunday people paying attention? Especially Christian denominations who ignore their slaughtered Christian cousins but leap onto the boycott, divestment and sanctions bandwagon?

What will the pope and the Sunday people say when Palestinians declare that Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher, for example, is really Muslim and should be turned into a mosque?

June Brott, Walnut Creek