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letters | demographic tides in the middle east

Occupation can’t last forever

IN HIS June 26 column, “The myth of the inevitable Jewish minority in Israel,” Jeff Jacoby essentially argues that faulty demographic claims about high Arab birth rates shouldn’t be used to push Israel to make peace with the Palestinians. This, he says, is because Jews are likely to remain a majority “in their own land,” which he apparently defines as Israel and the West Bank (but not Gaza).

Aside from his implicit assertion — that the West Bank is Jewish property, in the face of international law to the contrary — his argument is deeply flawed for a more fundamental reason. Even assuming no “demographic problem,” that is, accepting that Jews would retain a majority in Israel and the West Bank, Jacoby fails in any way to acknowledge the Palestinian claim to its own viable sovereign state, and the urgency of its demand.

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Does Jacoby think that aspiration is going to simply fade away with the passage of time? Does he think the international community will countenance years more Israeli occupation of the West Bank, with all the moral and political baggage it carries? Jacoby apparently thinks it’s in Israel’s interest to spend another decade or two attempting to preserve what is simply an insupportable and unsustainable status quo.

“Demographic problem” or not, what Israel needs is peace, now.

Michael Felsen

Jamaica Plain

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