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Are settlements over the line?

July 04, 2009

Re "On rocky ground: Israel's settlements in occupied territory violate the rights of Palestinians, and international law says they must go," Opinion, June 28, and

Yisrael Medad's article on Jewish settlements would be laughable if it weren't so tragic. Through specious logic and linguistic sleight of hand, he has attempted to make the Palestinians guilty of ethnic cleansing and denying the Jews the right of return. Does he really think we're that gullible?

Paul McDermott

Los Angeles

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An inspired choice to let Medad be the spokesman for the pro-settler position.

Out of his own mouth, he proves that the settlements are purely an Israeli land grab with no modern legal justification at all.

I love the principle that "every Jew is entitled to live wherever he pleases." By that logic, no country in the world has the right to use immigration controls to restrict the inflow of Jewish immigrants. So if all the Mexicans who wish to immigrate to the U.S. just converted to Judaism ... well, that's an immigration problem solved.

Heck, the Mexicans are "revenants" too.

Erica Hahn Monrovia

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Bravo, Sarah Leah Whitman.

She has, in a few concise paragraphs, clearly summarized the situation in Israel/Palestine and suggested what should be an obvious solution to the problem: Move the settlers back to Israel, thereby protecting their rights without violating the rights of the Palestinians.

Judy Neunuebel

Santa Barbara

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In his commentary, Medad seems to use "nothing illegal about a Jew living where Judaism was born" to justify the settlers' taking of property in the West Bank for their own use.

This attitude seems incredibly arrogant and dismissive of the rights of the Palestinians with homes or other property in the West Bank. Medad needs to consider the rights of the Palestinians. In fact, having lived there over that same period of time, wouldn't Palestinians have at least the same rights to the land as the Israelis?

It seems as if Medad is offering a very poor rationalization for taking something that does not belong to him.

William T. Parker

San Diego

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Medad claims that preventing Jews from living in the occupied territories would smack of racism.

Well, how about Israeli policies that keep Palestinians from living in most of Israel, whether they're stateless residents of the West Bank and Gaza or non-Jewish citizens of Israel itself?

Steve Roddy

San Francisco

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Thank you for publishing these courageous Op-Ed articles. I was thrilled to see a newspaper allowing both sides of the story to be told.

Hana Gheith

Oak Lawn, Ill.

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No doubt some may hurl epithets at Whitson for drawing attention to the fact that the Israeli settlements are illegal under international law.

But, like many American Jews, I agree: The settlements are not only illegal but the primary obstacle to peace.

Medad, on the other hand, has some strange ideas about law and history. He seems to think that a law or proclamation can't be superseded, or that a set of "principles" carries the force of law and justifies the violation of another people's fundamental rights.

I agree that Jews should be allowed to settle in the West Bank. In fact, the Palestinian Authority has made clear that, with the resolution of property claims and compensation as appropriate, Jews would be welcome -- under Palestinian sovereignty.

If Jews could be citizens in a Palestinian state -- much like Christian and Muslim Arabs can be citizens in Israel -- would Medad accept it? Or would he be afraid that the Palestinians would treat their Jewish citizens like Israel treats its Arabs?

Mark Kaswan

Sherman Oaks

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Ultimately, there will be a two-state solution, but there will have to be some negotiation about territory. The Green Line is simply where fighting stopped.

A Palestinian state may have to accommodate some Jewish minority living in its territory, as Israel has an Arab minority living in its.

The ability to negotiate around such distributions of populations may prove the real test of whether peace in the region is possible.

Elliott Oring

Long Beach

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