ISRAEL'S SEARCH FOR PEACE - by David Harris, AJC in IHT
19 August, 2008
LETTERS, International Herald Tribune
The editorial "The perils of an Israeli transition" (Aug. 19) fell short of the mark on several points.
First, it underestimates Israel's deep yearning for peace. The Israeli government of the day, as well as the vast majority of the population, do not need to be "pressured" to seek peace or support a two-state solution. Having lived without full peace for 60 years, they, perhaps more than any society on earth, desire the security and tranquility that only peace can assure.
Second, the editorial glosses over the anxiety in Israel today about the profound dangers facing the Jewish state. Surrounded by Hamas-controlled Gaza, Hezbollah-dominated southern Lebanon, a weak Palestinian Authority, and the unpredictability of Syria, not to mention the looming Iranian nuclear threat, Israel has no easy answers for translating that yearning for peace into an enduring reality.
And third, comments like "A way must be found to help turn Hamas into a legitimate and acceptable negotiating partner" and "Arab countries also need to face up to their responsibilities" may sound nice in an editorial, but absent concrete steps on the ground they only serve to underscore the essence of the problem.
David A. Harris, New York
American Jewish Committee