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Israeli zealotry is not true obstacle to peace

West BankIsraelPalestineEhud OlmertBarack Obama

KAL's cartoon of March 24 depicting President Barack Obama disinterring a dove representing the two-state solution, only to see the dove shot at by "Israeli extremists" and "Palestinian extremists" is witty, clever, and inaccurate. The cartoon lazily rehashes the simplistic but false narrative that zealots on both sides are responsible for continuation of the conflict and equally to blame for the lack of a peaceful resolution.

In reality, the fact that in 2013, a Palestinian state does not exist is attributable to the 1947 Arab rejection of the UN partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states; Yasir Arafat's 2000 rejection of the contiguous Palestinian state offered by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak in negotiations at Taba; and President Mahmoud Abbas' 2008 rejection of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's offer of a Palestinian state on 97 percent of the West Bank.

Yes, both sides have their zealots, but the true obstacle to peace is not the minority of Israelis who insist on annexing the West Bank, but the masses of Arabs who regard Israel as a foreign element in the Middle East, are fed a steady diet of media and clerical incitement against Jews and Israelis, and who continue to insist on a Palestinian "right of return" that would destroy Israel's character as the Jewish homeland.

Jay Bernstein, Baltimore

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