Whenever I read an article like Richard Silverstein’s “The Eleventh Commandment: Thou shalt not occupy” (Feb. 11) I am reminded of the Yiddish proverb “A father who does not steal to feed his starving children is not a father.”
Yes, Mr. Silverstein, the Israeli occupation of the West Bank is a sin. Yes, Jews ruling over a conquered people violates every canon of Jewish ethics I’ve ever read, but in this specific case, what is Israel’s alternative? Should Israel simply just hand the West Bank back over to the Arabs and hope for the best? Have you looked at a map lately? What if they remilitarize it? Do you really think a piece of paper will stop them? Do you really think the Arabs have given up their dream of driving the infidel Jews into the sea? If so, where is the evidence? What if they use the West Bank as a launching pad for missiles and terrorist raids against the Israeli heartland as they did before the 1967 war? What kind of peace will Israel have then?
Yes, Mr. Silverstein, the occupation goes on and on and on with no end in sight, and you and me and everyone else are sick of it. But we will be a lot sicker one day when we watch the evening news and see Tel-Aviv in flames. You ask, “Can Israel live forever surrounded by hostile nations?” and you answer, “I don’t believe so.” I agree with you. I don’t believe so either. But forever is a long time. And if what is happening now in Egypt happens in other Arab countries and democracy sweeps through the Middle East, giving the Arab young people hope for the future and access to happier lives, maybe — just maybe — Arab hostility toward Israel will wither away and a real peace can be established. But, unfortunately, until that day arrives, Israel must have defensible borders and the Jordan River is a damn good one.
An Israeli government that does not do everything in its power to provide safety and security for its citizens is not an Israeli government.