September 12, 2011
The New York Times
620 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10018
To the Editor:
While rightly observing that, "a United Nations vote on Palestinian membership would be ruinous," your editorial of September 12, Palestinian Statehood, utterly fails to put forth actionable solutions to numerous ongoing Middle East crises that directly affect prospects for successful peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel.
If fault is to be apportioned for the Palestinian attempt to circumvent the established and agreed upon formula for the talks - direct, face-to-face negotiations with needed confidence-building steps - it would be found with Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas' violation of the pledge he made to President Obama not to pursue political objectives outside of the talks. Fault also lies with the administration for not being firm enough with Abbas and his putative government that the United States supports with $500 million in aid each year.
The New York Times chastises the administration for failure to find a "compromise solution." This charge, however, is misplaced. The Palestinians are not entitled to have a state created for them if they are unhappy with the pace of talks with Israel.
The most heinous charge in the New York Times editorial is that "the greater onus [is] on Mr. Netanyahu, who has used any excuse to thwart peace efforts." The facts refute this charge. Prime Minister Netanyahu was the first Israeli leader to accept the two-state solution. His government has been a committed participant in the talks that have often broken down over Palestinian terror attacks and the failure of Mr. Abbas to clearly condemn them. In fact, Mr. Abbas and other PA officials have celebrated these vile acts and proclaim their perpetrators to be heroes. Palestinian incitement for violence against Israel including the poisoning of Palestinian children's minds in Palestinian schools continues unabated. These facts are not lost on the Israeli public.
The past several years have seen near continuous rocket attacks on Israel emanating from Gaza where Hamas is in charge. Hamas, which avowedly seeks Israel's destruction, is Mr. Abbas' partner in the PA governing structure. Far from showing interest in seeking peace with Israel, the Palestinians have been demonstrating their enmity toward Israel.
But the New York Times was not interested in any of that. Your editorial lists only steps Israel and the United States must take to induce the Palestinians to come back to the table. It eschews steps the two might take to punish the Palestinian leadership for its counterproductive behavior.
The New York Times claims its vision of a peace process will result in a more secure Israel. Unfortunately, its prescription for how to achieve this is far more likely to result in serious harm to the patient.
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