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Letters to the Editor

Readers write about Israel's wall, helping the US economy by purchasing a US-made car, and ending rape as a weapon of war.

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Hold Israel to international law regarding wall, settlers

Regarding the Nov. 26 Opinion piece, "In the name of peace, Israelis and Palestinians should become European": This suggestion is valuable, in part, because it points to a role that the European Union (EU) can play that is independent of the United States. It is, however, a role whose payoff is in the indefinite future. Israel is about to have an election in which a right-wing ideologue who is opposed to any treaty with the Palestinians whatsoever may be elected.

Instead of merely aiming at the distant future, the EU could do something that would have an immediately beneficial impact. It could seek to protect Palestinian human rights by demanding that Israel comply with international law in the conduct of its occupation (now 41 years old), beginning with the tearing down of the "security" wall in the occupied territories. The EU could also demand that Israel remove the settlers from all occupied territories.

Both the presence of the settlers and the wall have been called illegal by the International Court of Justice and the United Nations Security Council. Neither the settlers nor the wall are required for Israel's security. The wall merely protects the settlers, and the settlers protect nothing. With the settlers resettled within pre-1967 Israeli territory, Israel could rebuild the security wall within its own pre-1967 territory – as it could do today, achieving the same security that it has now, but without violating international law.

Israel's peace community and government need help removing the settlers and the wall. The settler community is too powerful a political bloc for any Israeli government to act voluntarily to come into compliance with law. The government will act, if at all, only under some kind of duress.

Law enforcement is a form of duress. The EU could thus provide a service to Israel's peace community, thereby promoting peace as well as human rights, by taking a tough stand on international law.


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