Israel currently controls the lives of 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank. I therefore find it difficult to understand Wendy Rosen’s dire prediction (“The coming Palestinian winter,” June 10) that declaring a Palestinian state will mark an end to Israel as a Jewish state. It makes significantly more sense that to secure Israel’s Jewish majority and character, its leaders should act quickly to relinquish the occupied territories and make real progress toward a two-state solution.
The West Bank settlements are a huge impediment to this goal. Not only are they an obstacle to peace with the Palestinians, a security liability and an economic drain, but also a terrible moral burden and a major contributor to Israel’s growing international isolation.
It is incumbent upon American Jews who care about the democratic future of an Israel that is a “light unto the nations” that they not “check their liberalism at Zionism’s door” (in the words of journalist Peter Beinart). They would do Israel a greater service by challenging Israel’s behavior in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and by doing everything possible to bring about a Palestinian state.
One cannot help but be concerned, as we watch current events unfold, that if more meaningful progress is not made in establishing a Palestinian state with the 1967 borders as a starting point, other forces will seize the initiative in shaping the Middle East.