No Peace Without Justice for Palestinians
The opinion-page article, "Israeli-Palestinian Coexistence," July 5, says that Israeli settlers should be allowed to live in a Palestinian state, as their situation would be akin to that of the Palestinians living in Israel.
But Palestinians in Israel are there by right - living, albeit as second-class citizens - in villages and towns, such as Nazareth, which predate the creation of Israel. Settlers, however, are living on confiscated Palestinian lands in the West Bank, including Arab Jerusalem, and Gaza, in violation of international law, United Nations Security Council resolutions, and Palestinians' human rights.
Perhaps some settlers could continue to stay - in return for the right of some Palestinian refugees to return to their former homes in Israel. But Israel must give back the valuable land and the limited water resources it took from the Palestinians.
The resources are needed for the 2 million Palestinians now in Gaza and the West Bank as well as for the resettlement of Palestinians who will return from exile to live in a Palestinian state. The homes of Jewish settlers should be turned over to Palestinian refugees.
Also, Israeli groups such as Peace Now have suggested that some of the 3 billion dollars in US aid to Israel be used to resettle Jewish settlers inside Israel.
Peace and reconciliation are not possible without justice, and justice is denied if Israel uses its superior force to insist that Palestinians accept the injustice of Jewish settlements on Palestinian lands.
Edmund R. Hanauer Framingham, Mass. Executive Director of Search for Justice and Equality in Palestine/Israel
Islamists threaten Israeli security
The editorial "Rabin's Task: the Settlers," June 28, omits one critical point: the issue of Israeli security.
As the editorial rightly points out, nobody expects the removal of Israeli settlements any time soon. The Israeli-Palestinian agreement leaves the settlements issue to the final status negotiations. But, it is not the isolated actions of radical settlers that is threatening the peace process, as the editorial suggests. Rather, the unyielding violence and hostility of Islamic radicals is making it increasingly difficult to balance Palestinian political self-expression with Israeli security concerns. When security needs of Israeli citizens are met, Palestinians will see better results.
David H. Strassler New York National Chairman Anti-Defamation League
The US has no need for NATO
The opinion-page article "Postwar Alliances: Still Crucial," June 14, argues that the postwar alliances with Europe and Japan remain useful. I disagree. Wartime alliances are successful only as long as there remains an enemy to be united against.
Japan and Germany are peaceful democracies. Japan will not stray far from the United States, because of neighboring China and Russia. Neither will Germany, which fears Russia and itself. And neither nation is a threat to its neighbors. So why should the US take risks to keep what we will keep anyway?
NATO's existence implicitly threatens Russia, a nation that will never be included in the US nuclear umbrella, yet whose ire we do not wish to raise.
The 120,000 US troops currently stationed in Europe are "hostages" that Britain, Italy, and Germany keep as a guarantee that, if Russia again becomes hostile, the US will use its weaponry to save Europe. But, with a presence of 25,000 troops in Europe, the US could guarantee involvement in the security of Europe without any need for NATO.
Therefore, the US must disassociate itself from NATO and the Japanese Security Treaty promptly, because neither tie promotes the national interest. More manageable and appropriate collective security arrangements can be made.
Sean O'Neill Washington
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