Your editorial, ” A dangerous move on talks” (August 16) is based on a false premise. Your call for Israel’s government to decide between peace talks or building plans is incorrect. Building plans will not cause the ending of negotiations. They can only be used as an excuse to end them. You blame the wrong government. It is not the Israeli government that must decide between peace talks or building plans. It is the Palestinian Authority who must decide between peace talks or an excuse to end them. Remember when Netanyahu was forced to agree to a ten-month building freeze in order to get the P.A. to the table to talk peace? It took the P.A. nine months to find their seats and then end talks after month number ten.
The P.A. has friends in the White House and U.S. State Department who forced the freeing of the released terrorist prisoners by the Netanyahu government. They did not care about the families of those killed, only to build up Abbas’ standing in the eyes of his populace. The only exception was the report of the State Department objecting to the release of a terrorist who killed an Israeli with dual U.S. – Israeli citizenship. His killer was left on the list to be freed. It would have been costly for Netanyahu to publicly fight the terrorists’ release. It seems to be only Israel who must make the painful concessions. Why not concessions from the P.A. side? Just for Abbas to sit down to negotiate with the Israelis is not a concession.
Beginning with the Armistice Agreements ending the fighting in 1948-49, negotiations were to take pace between the warring parties, Arabs and Israelis. The resolutions ending the ’67 War also called for negotiations between the fighting parties, not their surrogates.
Perhaps the Israelis should demand concessions of their own before they sit down with the P.A. They could start with the recognition of Israel as the Jewish state. They could move on to the demand that the P.A. end the demonization of Israel and Jews by their government. Israel also can demand that any Israelis currently living in areas that will be ceded to the new Palestinian Arab state be allowed to continue to do so on the land they own.
We are told that to accede to these concessions, Abbas would be signing his own death sentence. If he cannot agree to a peace agreement and live, how can one seriously expect any signed peace treaty to last? The choice is not between building and peace talks. It is just whether each state is willing to recognize and live in a lasting, secure peace with the other.