Fareed Zakaria [“An appeal to Israel’s conscience,” op-ed, March 28] called President Obama’s appeal to Israelis to empathize with Palestinians “the most likely path to peace and a Palestinian state.” This overlooks the fact that Israelis already support peace and previously offered the Palestinians a state during talks in 2000, 2001 and 2008. It was the Palestinians who responded with rejection and terrorism and whose conscience must be stirred if there is ever to be peace.
Mr. Obama should instead have asked Palestinian students in Ramallah to see the world through Israeli eyes: “Imagine that your nation has been reborn in your ancestral homeland after centuries in exile culminating in genocide. However, your country has been attacked since the day of its rebirth by your neighbors, most of whom still reject your right to exist, deny your history and await your destruction. Imagine that your leaders courageously offered their neighbors a state born in peace, and you looked forward to a future in which your children and their children could play together as friends. How would you feel when you saw the Palestinians respond by rejecting peace, sending suicide bombers into your schools, buses, discos, malls and pizzerias to blow up your children, launching rockets and mortars targeting your homes and naming public squares and high schools in honor of terrorists?”
Stephen A. Silver, San Francisco
Regarding Charles Krauthammer’s March 29 op-ed column, “What really happened in Jerusalem”:
Mr. Krauthammer recycles the false notion that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his predecessor Yasser Arafat rejected Israeli proposals to end the conflict. This notion is rooted in myth and fantasy.
In fact, the Israeli side presented no written proposals in 2008. Similarly, in 2000 it only verbally presented an initial position that fell short of Palestinian positions regarding refugees, Jerusalem and the attributes of sovereignty that would undermine Palestinian control over borders, natural resources, mass transport, mass communication, airspace and territorial waters.
Mr. Krauthammer is clearly seeking to persuade readers to accept the Israeli policy of settlements, despite the fact that they violate international law, the U.S. position and the global consensus. One cannot understand why Mr. Krauthammer supports such a policy, as it is the largest obstacle to achieving peace based on the two-state solution.
Dorgham Abusalim, Washington
The writer is media affairs officer at the General Delegation of the PLO to the United States.