Letters to the Editor
Readers write about whether there can be a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, how our mixed heritages make the world a more interesting place, and why the media should focus on solutions as well as problems.
For Israeli-Palestinian peace, redefine two-state solution
Regarding the Feb. 4 Opinion piece, "George Mitchell and the end of the two-state solution": I agree with author Sandy Tolan that the two-state solution, as that option has been defined to date, is no longer possible. I also agree that the one-state solution is anathema to Israeli Jews, and to many Jews outside Israel, as that option could result in Jews becoming a minority in the world's only Jewish state.
Therefore, the only real option is to redefine the two-state solution, creating a Palestinian state in Gaza as early as possible, and then allowing Israel and the Palestinians remaining on the West Bank to reach an agreement on a joint state, excluding Gaza. For this option to be feasible, the United States and the European Union must guarantee that they will provide for Gaza's internal and external security for an extended period of years. They would also need to provide funding for development of the Palestinian state of Gaza.
In the past several weeks, many well-regarded pundits have written articles proclaiming the death of the two-state solution. The blame, they say, is Israel's, for its stubborn refusal to curb the expansion of settlers in the West Bank. Ridiculous.
If the two-state solution is indeed on its deathbed, it is certainly the fault of the mainstream Palestinian extremists. The reason a two-state solution seems inviable is because the Palestinians, through their election of a terrorist government sworn to the destruction of the Jewish state and through their unwillingness to embrace moderation, have made clear that they have no intention of living side by side with Jews. Without an overhaul in Palestinian society, they will never have an independent state because such a state would only be a hotbed of further terrorist activity against Israel. Expansion of Israeli settlements may indeed be a problem for the two-state solution, but it is hardly the death knell.
Any humane individual will extend regret and sympathy to the moderate minority of Palestinians who suffer because of the extremism of their compatriots. But until that minority can bring moderation to the mainstream, there will not be a two-state solution.
Dual ethnicity makes a vibrant world
In regard to the Feb. 6 essay, "Being a 'hyphenated American' opens two worlds": When you grow up with dual ethnicity, you face both cultural challenges and rewards. Author Zaina Arafat's personal story, told with gentle good humor, is fascinating. I suspect that all children grow up feeling a bit pulled between two different worlds, as every child born is a unique blend of two families. This dynamic makes for a wonderfully complex, diverse, and interesting world. Thanks for publishing Ms. Arafat's perspective.
Media should focus on solutions, too
In regard to the Feb. 4 Opinion piece, "The cheap stimulus option: Stop hyping bad economic news": What an excellent suggestion. As author Peter McDonnold so clearly points out, with every story about economic circumstances or statistics, a little extra digging can reveal a positive aspect, an offsetting fact that helps to minimize the negative conclusion that might otherwise be drawn – and, most important, reveal an opportunity to create and build solutions.
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