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Israel: politics and policy

January 09, 2008

Re "Israel's false friends," Opinion, Jan. 6

Where John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt miss the boat is their opining that the key issue (vis-a-vis an Israeli-Palestinian two-state solution) is the future of Gaza and the West Bank, which Israel conquered in 1967 and still controls.

From the perspective of many Americans, including U.S. presidential candidates, the key issue is Israeli security against suicide bombers and other Palestinian opponents of a two-state solution.

Until credible evidence surfaces that Palestinians can successfully control that portion of their population, this security issue trumps all others.

It is disingenuous that Mearsheimer and Walt did not include the latter issue. It is at least as important as the future of Gaza and the West Bank, which can become a viable homeland for Palestinians.

Marc Jacobson

Los Angeles

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Mearsheimer and Walt mention American values only once, but that is the key issue. Why does the United States give unconditional diplomatic, financial and military support to Israel when Israel continually violates American values? How can the United States support Israel in its continued occupation of the West Bank, which is destroying Palestinian society? How can the United States support Israel in its siege of the Gaza Strip, which is pushing 1.5 million people to the brink of starvation?

President Bush should be guided by the American values of fairness and freedom when he visits Israel and Palestine, and pressure Israel to end its siege and seriously negotiate to allow a viable Palestinian state to emerge in the West Bank and Gaza.

Sandra Williams

Pacific Palisades

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Fear of alienating the pro-Israel movement is not the reason for presidential candidates' support of Israel. Before the pro-Israel lobby in Washington was even founded, U.S. presidents were consistent supporters of Israel. Harry Truman recognized Israel just 11 minutes after its establishment. Furthermore, the lobby was created before the emergence of political action committees and does not fund candidates.

Presidential candidates rightfully recognize that what is good for Israel is good for the United States.

Israel is our strongest ally and partner in the Middle East and the only democracy in the region. Comparing Israel to an apartheid state is outrageous. Israel has full recognition of minority rights, with Arabs serving in parliament and on the Supreme Court. It is leaders like Jimmy Carter who are the false friends of Israel.

Joey Freeman

Sherman Oaks

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Mearsheimer and Walt fail to address two important questions:

* In 1947, the United Nations voted for a two-state solution. The Israelis accepted. The Arabs rejected it. Nothing is different today. Why is that?

* Why is it OK for Arabs to live in Israel, vote and become members of the Knesset (the Israeli parliament), whereas it appears not OK for even a single Jew to live in the West Bank or Gaza? Exactly who is practicing "apartheid"?

Martin Shandling

Los Angeles

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I have a proposition. Israel will pull all its military, roadblocks and settlers out of the West Bank and return to the pre-1967 borders, just as it pulled out of Gaza more than two years ago. One condition: If one shot, missile or Kassam rocket is fired from the Palestinian territories and enters or lands in Israel, or if one Israeli dies as a direct result of the actions of Palestinians, regardless of their political affiliation, Israel will have the right to reenter the Palestinian territories and do whatever Israel deems necessary to protect itself. The Palestinian Authority, plus the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia, will endorse this proposition without reservation.

Will the Palestinians, including Hamas, accept this straightforward proposition? Will Mearsheimer and Walt?

Shmuel Erde

Beverly Hills

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