Just back from my seventh Israel teaching trip and read my favorite JTNews section: Letters.
Re: Mr. Israel Kochin’s letter, “In Defense of Mom” (May 11): I agree. Israel desperately needs safety and security. Ditto Palestine. Mr. Kochin writes: “The author writes that my mother’s views imply that ‘she must have no moral compass’ if she cannot see the mitigating historical factors that motivate these terrorists.”
Mr. Kochin attributes words to me I never wrote regarding terrorism; his inference that I am a terror supporter is so far out in left field it’s outside the park.
I have been a public critic of Israel’s failed military campaigns and of terrorism: Hamas and Al-Aqsa for war crimes and crimes against humanity, especially murder-suicide bombings.
In Jerusalem the week of May 9, Ha’aretz published an ad urging Netanyahu to press now for a Palestinian state. The all-Israeli signatories included former generals, military and civilian intelligence directors, and police heads. Israelis (and Diaspora supporters of Netanyahu) run the risk of appearing to support terrorism by their rejectionist stance.
Yet the forthcoming (nonbinding) planned UN resolution granting recognition to a Palestinian state is exactly what late Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and Jewish and Diaspora Jews sought: Palestinian recognition of Israel’s 1967 borders.
If both sides recognized the other today, these still need negotiation:
Is there enough land in the West Bank for equitable land swaps? Will Israel agree to East Jerusalem as a Palestinian state capital while building new housing for Jews only there? A right of return for Palestinians, and economic remuneration to Israelis from North African and Mideastern countries displaced since 1948?
Where/when will 200,000 (or more) settlers relocate to? Many thousands of West Bank Palestinians who went abroad for work or schooling in recent years have been denied the right to return to the West Bank by the Israeli occupation authorities.
Instead of the sealed-fortress ghetto mentality gripping Netanyahu and right-wing Israelis, Israel could embrace the demise of adjacent repressive, autocratic regimes. Israel was built on dreams of democracy, hope and freedom with tears and blood. Anti-Palestinian fervor in the Israeli right and the Diaspora are crushing Israeli democracy and its future. That need not happen.