Jerusalem: Coexist Peacefully and Equally

The author of the opinion-page article ``Can Jerusalem's Status Be Resolved?'' June 22, seems to believe that might makes right (unfortunately, an all too prevalent view these days). The author ignores the fact that East Jerusalem is an occupied territory, in violation of the 1949 Geneva Accords. The author implies that the world must accept the illegal Israeli settlements because it is not feasible to remove them. If this is true, at a minimum, Israel must make reparations to Palestinians whose land has been illegally expropriated.

The author also implies that, because not much will change regarding Jerusalem's status in the next two to five years, there is no need to discuss it before then. This ignores well-known Israeli plans to expand its settlements around Jerusalem. The plans require the annexation of several hundred dunams [quarter acres] of Palestinian land. If Jerusalem is not discussed immediately, there will be next to nothing to negotiate in five years.

The author states that coexistence has worked in Jerusalem. When one is a mem-ber of the group in power, it is easy to be blind to the reality. For example, Palestinians are rarely granted building permits, while Israelis rarely have to apply for them. Since March 1993, Palestinians from the West Bank have not been allowed in Jeru-salem - depriving them of jobs, health care, and educational opportunities.

A just and lasting peace requires negotiations with the perspectives of both sides being considered equally. ``Solutions'' should not be imposed unilaterally by those in power. The resolution of Jerusalem's status should require Israel to pay reparations to the Palestinians for the theft of Palestinian land and water. If settlers cannot be re-moved, no new settlers should be allowed, and all available housing in East Jerusalem should be reserved for Palestinians. Finally, Jerusalem must be discussed now, or there will be nothing to discuss. Ronald Forthofer, Longmont, Colo.

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