Regarding the letter from Harry Stern in the May 31 issue.
I must disagree with Harry Stern’s assertion that the presence of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria (dubbed “The West Bank” during nearly two decades of illegal Jordanian occupation) are an obstacle to the creation of the first-ever-to-exist Arab State of Palestine. The “settlements” sit on land of religious and historic importance to Jews, land that is of strategic importance to Israel. Yet, the land area covered by these Jewish communities is relatively small and Israel has made several offers to negotiate on setting borders, which have been flatly rejected by Palestinian leaders.
The true obstacle in the path of achieving a Two State Solution is that the term does not mean the same thing to the Israelis and the Palestinians. For Israel, Two States for Two Peoples means a Palestinian state willing to co-exist, peacefully, with the nation-state of the Jews, with members of minority groups having full civil rights in their country of residence. The Palestinian leadership wants a Palestinian state from which all Jews have been banished and a Muslim-majority Israel peopled by millions of Arabs claiming descent from Arabs who fled Palestine in the 1940’s during Arab-initiated violence aimed at preventing Israel’s rebirth in the Jews’ ancestral homeland, a point that doesn’t get mentioned in proclamations about an Arab Right of Return. Unfortunately, the Palestine Refugees (UNRWA designation) have grown up seeing people highly honored and richly rewarded for killing Jews. Jews would be second-class citizens in a Muslim-majority Israel, if they were tolerated at all.
Toby F. Block, Atlanta