H.D.S. GREENWAY wants Israel to withdraw from the West Bank (“Israel’s modern tragedy,’’ Op-ed, Jan. 3). Polling data have documented that most Israelis would also like to do so. Unlike Greenway, however, they have to consider some difficult realities.
Hamas continues to advocate for Israel’s annihilation. Palestinian schools continue to teach their students that Israel is not a legitimate state. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas continues to glorify terrorists who are best known for having murdered Israeli civilians. The Palestinians’ arsenal of rockets and other weapons continues to grow in quantity and sophistication.
Perhaps most important, since most of Israel’s population centers are in range of even light weapons fired from the West Bank, let alone the kind of missiles and rockets now being fired from Gaza, an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank would put virtually every Israeli citizen at risk.
Ignoring these and other equally disquieting realities will not speed peace or an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank. What will help this happen is for Greenway and others who purport to support peaceful coexistence to also make clear that the Palestinian culture of rejection and terror is a fundamental impediment to Palestinian aspirations for an independent state of their own. Their silence has been a source of succor to those who reject peaceful coexistence and a stark demonstration of the kind of partisanship that makes this Middle East conflict so intractable.
Mel ShumanVice president American Jewish Committee Boston office