Peace is up to the Palestinians

President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu discuss a 10-year military assistance deal struck this month worth $38 billion, the largest slice of military aid the U.S. has ever given another country. Sept. 21, 2016. (The White House)

Direct negotiations are the best way to achieve lasting peace between Arabs and Jews in the Middle East ("Trump and Israel," Jan. 24),

Israel has always advocated this. It is not an "alternative fact."


Yet direct talks between Palestinians and Israelis have not taken place since 2014, long before Donald Trump ran for president. Even then, Israel had to release over 100 Arab prisoners to bribe the Palestinians to show up.

American policy should be committed to encouraging both sides to negotiate an end to their conflict, without prejudging the results. If they settle on two states, fine. But it may be something else.

It is up to the Palestinians to determine if they want peace with Israel. As Hillary Clinton said last year, "If the Palestinian Authority had accepted offers made at Camp David organized by my husband, they would have had a state 15 years ago."

Why is their no peace? To paraphrase Shakespeare (from Julius Caesar), "the fault, dear Abbas, is not in the stars, but in yourself."

If the Palestinian Authority really had the best interests of its people at heart, it would negotiate with the Israelis now for an end to the century-old conflict between Jews and Arabs over the land west of the Jordan River.

In 1967, there were no Jewish people living on the West Bank or in eastern Jerusalem; now there are 700,000. In 1967, Israel's population was 2.8 million; now it is 8.3 million.

Insults, boycotts, wars and terrorism haven't worked very well for the Palestinians. Why not try negotiations? The longer the Palestinians wait, the weaker their position becomes.

Jerry Levin, Baltimore