Rx for peace: First return America's own occupied territories

Perhaps you are right that peace negotiations based on Israel's pre-1967 boundaries, though perhaps arbitrary, are basically "what has to happen" to end the Israel-Palestine conflict ("Obama and the Arab Spring," May 19).

But you should firmly tell our president that in order to demonstrate his moral leadership and credibility, he should have the U.S. first pull back from all its occupied territories.

First, the territories won in World War II: Guam, Wake Island, the Marianna Islands and Midway Island.

Next, any territory not bought directly from the indigenous population without coercion: Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Howland Island, Samoa, Navassa Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Palmyra Atoll, Jarvis Island and Baker Island.

But that's just the small stuff. How about the Mexican Territories: Texas, New Mexico, etc.?

Then there's California.

After all, about one-tenth of Israel's population — 650,000 Israelis — lives outside the country's original 1949 borders.

In addition to that, everything taken by force or deceit from Native Americans should be returned. That leaves the original 13 colonies. Wait, not even that — didn't someone "buy" Manhattan from the natives there?

Only then will America be in a position to tell its friends to do the same — and as a bonus, hold the moral high ground in dealing diplomatically with its enemies.

Please tell our president that this is the only way to a truly "pragmatic, nuanced" solution.

Jeff Aaronson, Baltimore

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