Mary H. Hall: Israel should pursue conciliatory approach toward Palestinians

Monday, March 03, 2014
To the editor:

A letter-writer argued Feb. 6 that Israel should as much cede land to Palestinians as the United States should return land to Native Americans.

The U.S. ought to give back land that it obtained by many unjust means, whether or not it will do so. The writer also casts Israel as a defender against Arab aggression. Palestinians might not accept the legitimacy of a state that was imposed on them; from such a view, proponents of Israel have been aggressors from Day One.

It looks to me as though this letter asserts that might is right.

While as a practical matter this view has application, as a rule of life it is problematic.

This assertion does not serve toward resolving differences and establishing good relations with non-Jews.

While the letter-writer might deem good relations unimportant where Israel has unconditional American support, there are limits to the benefits that our bilateral relationship can confer.

The U.S. may lack will or means to fight a regional war in the Middle East; and, on balance, American policy may have aided al-Qaida’s recruitments.

Apart from these considerations, Israel wants to be its own entity, and not a client state.

I would urge Israel to pursue a willfully conciliatory approach to the Palestinians.

That, in concert with a continued maintaining of strength, can best assure the safety and well-being of Jews, wherever they live, going forward.

Mary H. Hall

South Hadley