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Palestinians are not committed to peace

A Sept. 2 letter claims the main roadblock “sabotaging” the current peace process is Israel’s occupation and settlements in “Palestinian lands set aside for their state.” Actually, no such lands have been set aside. The boundaries of a new Palestinian state are one of the subjects now being negotiated. I understand that Mahmoud Abbas has promised his people a state without a single Jew, which sounds like ethnic cleansing to me. Most of the world’s national states include one or more minorities. Israel includes over a million and a half Arabs. Therefore, I fail to see why a small fraction of that number of Jews left within a new Palestinian state should be a deal-breaker.

Israel’s policies are not provoking terror attacks against itself and the United States, as suggested. Perpetrators of attacks such as the Boston bombing, the Fort Hood massacre and 9/11 have stated that they are protesting American military presence in the Middle East – or America’s presence and influence virtually anywhere. Similarly, terrorist attacks against Israelis are not just a protest against Israel’s occupation of the West Bank or the settlements. They began decades earlier, when Jordan occupied the West Bank and there were no settlements. They were, and are, a protest against the existence of Israel itself. Why else do Abbas and other Palestinian leaders speak of “liberating” not only the West Bank, but Haifa and Tel Aviv, and make heroes of terrorists who murder innocent civilians?

The Israeli government has committed itself to making “painful” territorial adjustments for peace, as it did before the Israeli Egyptian Peace Agreement of 1979. Palestinian leaders must commit themselves to recognizing the legitimacy of the Jewish state in the Middle East. Then the current negotiations will have a chance to succeed.

Maxine S. Seller

Buffalo