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Approach to peace must look both at Israelis, Palestinians

Several recently published letters (by Sinykin, Frenzel and Martin) as well as a column by Amy Goodman have made a point of condemning the nation of Israel, particularly in the wake of the recent (though mercifully brief) escalation of hostilities between Israel and the Hamas regime in Gaza.

Of these, only the Goodman column briefly mentions the reality that in the recent conflict, Israel was in fact defending itself from a continuous wave of rocket attacks upon Israeli civilian centers. I can’t imagine any other country in the world being willing to tolerate such attacks upon their citizens without a response, and as Goodman pointed out, this was acknowledged by President Obama.

Ms. Frenzel’s letter referred to the legitimate fears of a Palestinian father for his family. What perhaps leaves this anecdote incomplete, however, is a concern over the policy of the Hamas regime locating military installations, weapons depots and rocket launchers next to schools, playgrounds, mosques, hospitals, and in residential areas. Such worries on the ground, however, may go unvoiced by those living under a Hamas regime in which an accused “collaborator” was murdered, and his body dragged through the streets behind a motorcycle.

In a recent essay in The New Republic (published on Sept. 19, prior to the recent conflict), Israeli writer and journalist Yossi Klein Halevi stated that “the Jewish people didn’t return home to deny another people its sense of home;” he truly wishes to see a sane, two-state solution. Halevi goes on, however, to note that the Palestinians were offered the equivalent of the 1967 borders by former Israeli prime ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert. Yet Palestinian leaders rejected the offers because they refused to concede the “sacred” right of return, as P.A. head Mahmoud Abbas calls it — that is, the sacred right to destroy the Jewish state through demographic subversion.

Such unreasonable demands preclude the possibility of a genuine peace, and in highlighting only the Israeli elements of the conflict, a resolution is, in my opinion, made more difficult rather than brought closer to reality. It is my sincere hope that Israel and the wider Arab world can work out their differences in a manner which will bring not only peace, but future partnership. A one-sided approach favoring the Palestinians, however, is not the manner in which a genuine two-state solution will come to fruition.