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Sunday, April 4, 2010

ADL: Israel struggles toward peace without a peace partner

Anti-Defamation League

Letters to the Editor
Financial Times
     March 29, 2010

To the Editor:
In the past few days the FT has published two op-eds that fundamentally distort the realities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In "A deaf and defiant Israel gambles with its future" (March 27), Max Hastings presents Israel as living in its own destructive world. His analysis strangely ignores Israel's efforts to move towards peace and the real obstacles to achieving that goal. Over the past 10 years, Israel has taken three bold initiatives for peace that could have led to a Palestinian state, the end of the settlement problem and the end of the conflict. On each occasion, at Camp David in 2000, the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, and the Annapolis process in 2008, the Palestinians said no and often turned thereafter to terror and violence.

Israelis are not living in a dream world. They are struggling about how to leave most of the West Bank without creating another zone for terrorism and rockets, as in Gaza. They are struggling about how to change the dynamic when there is no clear peace partner.

In "Refugees for settlers is the way forward for Israel" (March 29), Eugene Rogan plays with fire with his suggestion that Israel should admit the same number of Palestinian refugees as settlers living in the West Bank. If this is the direction that diplomacy would go, the more powerful argument is that if there are a million Arabs living in Israel, why can't an equivalent number of Jews live on the West Bank?

The truth is that the refugee problem must be solved through a Palestinian state and not through the subversive effort to undermine Israel. The settlement issue is resolvable in the context of a final agreement and reflecting where Israel's security fence is located: the settlement blocs would remain and the rest would disappear.
Painting Israel as the problem has become fashionable. Not only is this a mistaken approach but one which, by not focusing on Palestinian rejectionism, makes peace an even more remote objective.


Abraham H. Foxman
National Director