Mike Preston's report card in Week 3
Readers Respond

Aid package hurts peace process

Hamas is to blame for the failure of peace talks.

Kudos to Richard C. Gross for telling the truth about the Israeli-Palestinian "peace process" ("Israel aid deal delays potential for peace," Sept. 19).

As Mr. Gross states, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu often claims he supports peace talks with the Palestinians. But his actions and those of his administration tell a completely different story. Take just one figure — the number of Israeli settlers living in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem — and it becomes clear that Mr. Netanyahu has no intention of ever agreeing to a Palestinian state in Israeli-occupied territories.

According to American Friends Service Committee, "In 1993 when the Oslo accords were signed, there were approximately 110,000 Israeli settlers living in the West Bank and 146,000 living in East Jerusalem. In 2013 there were approximately 350,000 Israeli settlers living in the West Bank and as many as 300,000 living in East Jerusalem. Building the facilities needed to accommodate this increased population has led to massive settlement construction in both areas." And this construction continues to this day.

Mr. Gross is absolutely right when he states that the $38 billion U.S. military aid package to Israel that the Obama administration recently approved removes any leverage the United States may have had to nudge Mr. Netanyahu to the peace talks table. On the contrary, it rewards the prime minister for his obstinacy regarding peace talks with the Palestinians.

Joanne Heisel, Columbia

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