193. Pro-Israeli writers are off-base

Out of the four letters printed on Oct. 15 under the heading “Mideast Tensions”, only one, that of the Presbyterian pastor, succeeded in highlighting the root of the problem. Before demanding the cessation of violence one should know what caused it. The pastor pointed that out: the sufferings of the Palestinian Muslims and Christians as refugees or under the occupation.

Larry Greene’s letter [189] can be dismissed outright because of its irrelevance. He gave a list of the Palestinians’ violent actions to justify the violence of the Israeli army. Two wrongs do not make a right.

Leonard Saland and Morris Herstein are incensed that Clinton didn’t veto the Security Council resolution condemning Israel for using excessive force. If it is any consolation for them, they should know that Clinton didn’t vote for it either. He abstained to perpetuate the false impression that he is an honest broker. As for the resolution being on the books, they should not be overly worried since Israel usually shows contempt for UN resolutions.

Finally, there is a new tune the pro-Israel community is singing. According to Mr. Herstein, “Mr. Barak has gone further than any Israeli leader in giving concessions to the Palestinians.” That might be the case but it falls short of what is needed to reach an agreement. The Palestinians have already conceded 78 percent of historic Palestine. They are willing to build their state on what is left, just 22 percent. But even that small percentage is too much for people like Mr. Herstein.

November 1, 2000