11:15 AM EST, February 15, 2012
Regarding Andrew C. Mills' letter on Israel and Iran, he is correct thatIsrael's long-term security can be achieved only with a comprehensive settlement with the Palestinians ("Israel's future hinges on compromise, not attacks," Feb. 11). An attack on Iran would be a grave mistake for all concerned, but most especially for Israel. It should be considered a very last resort.
However, Mr. Mills is wrong in stating that Israel is holding the American people "hostage" by refusing to provide "substantive offers" to the Palestinians. Israel'sofficial policy since the Oslo accords in the early 1990's has been to achieve a two-state solution, with the Palestinians having their state in the West Bank and Gaza.
In 2000, under President Clinton's aegis, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, with the support of a majority of Israelis, made very substantial territorial concessions and compromised on the sensitive issue of the status of Jerusalem, all of which could have eventually solved the conflict.
Instead of further negotiations, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's response was to start the second intifada. Sadly, the Palestinians lost a golden opportunity and resorted to violence.
The less accommodating government in Israel today is the direct result. Remember as well that there are now not one but two Palestinian entities. Hamas, the terrorist group that rules Gaza, doesn't even recognize Israel's right to exist and is committed to its destruction, so the situation is now much more complex.
Unfortunately, the Israelis don't really have many peace options at the moment. Putting the entire blame for the situation on Israel, our closest Middle Eastern ally, is misleading and disingenuous.
Melvin Moschel, Owings Mills
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