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Letters to the Editor

Readers write about why the US needs to get tough on Israel in order to create peace in the Middle East, and why clean water is a basic human right.

March 23, 2009



The US must get tough on Israel for Middle East peace

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In regard to the March 19 Opinion piece, "The liability of limbo in Israel": In this commentary, author Bill Glucroft remarks, correctly, that Israel is frozen in a status quo which he calls an "occupation-sponsored apartheid." He says that this is likely to become permanent unless the US steps in to "push Israel past its comfort zone" by employing "tough love," and that the US must cease to be "an enabler of Israel's bad habits." But how should the US accomplish this?

I think that the US should adopt a dual policy of continuing to promote peacemaking but also, in a "paradigm shift" in its Palestine/Israel policy, treat the conduct of the occupation by Israel as a primary concern.

The US should insist that Israel comply with international humanitarian law in its occupation practices. This would mean removing the aptly nicknamed "apartheid wall" from the West Bank and removing all the approximately 500,000 settlers from the West Bank.

At the same time, the US should do all it can to bring about the "just and lasting peace" called for by UN Security Council Resolution 242 (1967) based on a two-state resolution of the conflict, if this is what the parties can agree to, or a one-state resolution, if they can agree to that.

The danger is that Palestine and Israel will agree to neither, leaving the nondemocratic, one-state apartheid regime of the occupation in place. By requiring a lawful occupation (Mr. Glucroft's "tough love") and thus ceasing to "enable" Israel's "bad habits" as an international scofflaw, the US will show Israel that avoiding peace in favor of the status quo is not as attractive as 40 years of US acquiescence has heretofore made it. This might change the dynamic of the peacemaking, as Israel will no longer "have its cake and eat it too."

But, if peacemaking does not flourish, at least the occupation will have been made more lawful and thus less destructive of Palestinian human rights.

Peter Belmont
New York

While Bill Glucroft might be correct in suggesting that ultimately Israel's leaders need to get off the fence and make clear its long-term position toward the Palestinians, and that perhaps only a push from the US can make that happen, he does not mention any conditions that must be satisfied by the Palestinians before the US gives Israel that push, i.e., that the Palestinians collectively express a willingness and desire to peacefully coexist with Israel as a Jewish state and with no further claims on Israel's territory once borders are agreed upon. What about Hamas?

Robert Semel
New York

Clean water is a basic right

Regarding the March 19 article, "Is access to clean water a basic human right?": The right we should consider is whether corporations and their stockholders have the right to profit from this basic human need.

Sophie Jensen
Lucerne, Calif.

It is the basic right of everybody to have access to clean water, regardless of whether they are rich or poor. Water is a necessary part of life.

What with all the pollution and water contamination, we must try to conserve water rather than wasting it. If we are going to have freshwater to drink for another hundred years, water recycling and purification must be instituted and made compulsory to stop garbage from entering the water supplies.

Miron Lovric
Tagbilaran, Bohol, Philippines

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