Why there is no Mideast peace | AspenTimes.com

Why there is no Mideast peace

Dear Editor:

In attempting to give the facts about the Six Day War and Israel’s occupation of Palestine, Buster Feldman fails miserably.

He claims that prior to Israel’s invasion, the Golan Heights was occupied by Syria. The Golan was actually Syrian territory. Likewise the Sinai was not occupied by Egypt, it was part of Egypt. That would be like saying Colorado is occupied by the United States.

He also claims the Palestinians “were condemned to perpetually live in the squalor of refugee camps because of the Arab countries’ determination to use them as a symbol of their hatred for Israel.” Actually Palestinian refugees have refused citizenship offered them by other Arab countries because they believe they will one day have a country of their own, and wish to retain their Palestinian identity, rather than become Jordanians or Syrians.

Feldman said, “Israel cannot just walk away and live next door to what to them represents a threat.” What Israel is actually unwilling to walk away from is their desire to annex the entire West Bank to Israel as they have done with the Golan Heights. If they succeed, it means no Palestinian state can be created. But it also means that with the current proportion of Arabs to Jews in that area, Jews would be outnumbered and outvoted in a democratic society, so no Jewish state either.

That’s why Israel has been building Jewish-only cities and towns (called settlements) throughout the West Bank and creating Jewish-only roads between the settlements and Israel proper, segregating the Muslim population and driving out 10,000 Palestinians a year from their ancestral homes. That’s 10,000 more refugees every year “condemned to perpetually live in the squalor of refugee camps,” because Israel refuses to end its military occupation and allow a Palestinian homeland to be created in the West Bank.

Feldman asserts that the reason the Middle East conflict continues is because no Arab nation or Palestinian leader is willing to negotiate peace with Israel. In 2002, the Arab Peace Initiative, guaranteeing recognition of Israel’s right to exist in peace and security, was signed by all 22 Arab countries and embraced by the Palestinian leadership. The Palestinian people are overwhelmingly in favor of the Initiative, and key Hamas figures have agreed to abide by it if Israel does.

So the only obstacle to peace is Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s refusal to sign the agreement with the Arabs and his rejection of President Obama’s request to stop building and expanding Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

The simple fact is, Israel must choose between land and peace. So far they have chosen land, and that’s why there is no peace.

Sue Gray


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