Regarding your editorial on the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, the emphasis on "peace" may be a misnomer in this conflict ("Israeli-Palestinian talks merit guarded pessimism," July 31).
These negotiations are not, and never have been, about peace. Israel has enjoyed relative peace since its inception. The wars it has been involved in have been of its own making.
Granted, there have been some Israelis killed by Palestinians — and many, many more Palestinians killed by Israelis. But this does not constitute a war by any means. For one thing, Palestinians do not have the capability to wage a war. They are totally subjected to Israel. The fact that they occasionally attempt to fight back is reasonable. In fact, Ehud Barak has been quoted as saying that if he were a Palestinian, he would be a terrorist. For the most part though, Palestinians have tried nonviolent resistance.
This conflict is so asymmetrical as to not even be a conflict. Someone once characterized it as being negotiations between a wolf and a lamb, with the mediator being a supporter of the wolf. It is hard to believe that the Palestinians have fallen for yet another "peace process." This is a prime example of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Israel has managed to steal so much Palestinian land and water during these many peace "processes" that there is not much left for a Palestinian state. One has only to look at a current map to see that this is true. I believe "steal" is the correct word here, as international law forbids settling ones citizens in occupied territory.
The label of "peace process" should be jettisoned in favor of something more basic to the conflict, since it is, and always has been, totally about control of the land. When one side is busy gobbling up the land in question, there doesn't appear to be much sense in continuing to confer about it. Even George Orwell would have a tough time with this.
Doris Rausch, Columbia