John Chuckman

Ms. Shepherd,

You write so cleanly and analytically, but here is a matter that is neither clean nor subject only to rational analysis.

Millions of lives are at stake here.

For outside observers, Israel sometimes seems to function for almost no other purpose than diminish, remove, abuse, and ignore Palestinians, full time.

There does have to be a peaceful solution.

And a genuine peaceful solution cannot be only on Israel’s terms, although it is impossible for a reasonable observer to regard the last half century of Israel’s activities and policies as anything but Israel’s efforts to have what it wants completely on its own terms.

There are two parties here, millions on both sides. And it is not the Palestinians who started the whole painful business.

It was not the Palestinians who created the Holocaust, but they have been consistently asked to pay the price as though they had done so.

The United States, which could have saved the entire Jewish population of Europe by taking them in but refused even a boatload of refugees, is more than a little responsible for the horror.

Yet it likes to take an exalted view of itself today as though it were the center of fairness and justice.

What it is actually doing is ignoring its own genuine responsibility and putting virtually the whole cost on the Palestinians and others in the Middle East.

I understand you do not feel it is true, but what Abbas has said is reasonable and fair.

They are his first words I can have some respect for. He has been overall a weak and ineffective leader which is precisely why Israel likes him.

You of course miss the elephant in the room, Hamas, a legitimate, elected government Israel chooses to ignore by calling names. You may not like them, but we all live with neighbors we do not like.

Israel cannot go on indefinitely doing nothing, absolutely nothing, to settle this complex problem. I should not say nothing: it does assassinate and illegally imprison and torture and shout down every reasonable voice that ever is raised. They are all terrorists or, at least, anti-Semites.

That is a dead-end strategy. I am sure you know that Arabic people’s population growth is among the highest in the world while Israel’s (apart from immigration) is like that of a European or North American society’s – that is, no growth at all.

How much more sensible to settle the key matters and establish proper institutions now, rather than thirty years from now?

This reality is further highlighted by the fact of Israel’s huge annual subsidy from the United States. America’s guilt about WWII will only last so long. I think all reasonable Americans expect Israel to settle before they eventually say they’ve paid long enough, a not irrational or hateful view at all.

The policy of the Iron Wall has been Israel’s from the beginning. It is an utter failure. It’s long past time to change it. It has only been destructive and resource-wasting. And those millions of neighbors are not going to disappear.


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