West Bank Withdrawal Would Be Disaster

AJT_NEWLOGO_SquareIsrael has announced that it will release tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority after deducting moneys owed by the PA for services provided by Israel (for electricity, water and hospitalization). Israel had delayed the transfer when the PA sought recognition of Palestinian statehood outside the negotiation process. If the release of the net revenue is the kind of step that Michael Jacobs felt that Israel should take to try to get back in President Barack Obama’s good graces (“Reassessing Unfortunate Events,” March 27), I can agree with his suggestion.

On the other hand, I am concerned that Mr. Jacobs might have been suggesting that Israel take more dangerous steps, such as a unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank, a move advocated by Professor Steven M. Cohen during his address at Congregation Etz Chaim on March 22. (This point was not emphasized in the AJT’s coverage of the talk — “Scholar: Shifting 2-State Stance Threatens Israel” — but I attended the event.) I fear that such a withdrawal would have a worse aftermath than the missile attacks that Israel has endured since the removal of all Israeli civilian and military presence from Gaza in 2007. Not only would a withdrawal from the West Bank bring most of Israel’s population into firing range, but it also would strengthen the resolve of those who seek the destruction of the Jewish state. (“We got the Zionists out of Gaza. We got the Zionists out of the West Bank. Now we will get them out of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa.” Such would be their battle cry.)

Just as Eytan Palte urged the Palestinians to emphasize their own accomplishments (“An Alternative to Israel Apartheid Week,” March 27), I urge supporters of Israel to tell Israel’s narrative. Israel liberated Gaza and the West Bank from illegal occupiers (Egypt and Jordan) in a defensive war. The Palestinian leadership has turned a deaf ear to Israel’s peace offers; both Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas said no to plans that envisioned a Palestinian state in all of Gaza and most of the West Bank, with the possibility of shared governance in part of Jerusalem. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s stance that a Palestinian state must be willing to live peaceably beside the nation-state of the Jews is not at all unreasonable. What good is a peace treaty that doesn’t end the conflict?

Toby F. Block, Atlanta

Shame Is With Schoenfeld, not Netanyahu

I was both saddened and angry after reading Dr. Eugen Schoenfeld’s recent column (“The Shame of Netanyahu’s Speech,” March 20). Here is a man who survived the Holocaust, and he naively thinks peace with Iran and an end to its nuclear ambitions can be achieved through negotiations. Does he not see that President Barack Obama wants to have an agreement signed at any cost to enhance his legacy, even if this agreement would threaten Israel’s very survival?

Look around at all that is happening in the world and tell me how Obama’s foreign policy is working. What brought Iran to the negotiation table were the sanctions applied by the United States. Those sanctions should be increased, not suspended.

What angers me the most is Dr. Schoenfeld’s criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his speech before Congress. Speaker John Boehner had every right to invited Prime Minister Netanyahu, and Prime Minister Netanyahu had every right to make his case before Congress — and indeed to the whole world.

Dr. Schoenfeld criticizes Prime Minister Netanyahu for his disregard for good manners and proper courtesy toward the president, but how many times has the president shunned Netanyahu when Netanyahu visited Washington?

History has shown us that appeasement doesn’t work. Iran has a long history of terroristic acts toward the United States, and it is not going to change any time soon. I hope and pray that both the United States and Israel can survive without a military confrontation with Iran until this president, who I believe history will show was the worst president ever, will leave office.

Joyce Leonard, Atlanta