letters | diplomatic tremors in the middle east

US muddles through in Mideast stance

Farah Stockman (“Putting resolutions over rockets,” Op-ed, Nov. 27) asks the right question. Why do Israel and the United States tear down the nonviolent Palestinian Authority and its president, Mahmoud Abbas, while magnifying the influence of the violent Hamas movement by indirectly negotiating with it? The answer, which Stockman does not discuss, is that Israel has no interest in Gaza territory, while many Israelis, and many of their supporters elsewhere, believe that the West Bank, as a part of the biblical Jewish kingdoms, should be settled by Jews or even annexed to Israel regardless of Palestinian claims.

Unfortunately, the United States continues to muddle through, trying to manage the conflict instead of solving it, while developments on the ground render peacemaking increasingly impossible. Welcoming Abbas’s overture for UN recognition of Palestinian statehood, instead of denouncing or punishing him for it, would have been a valuable first step in changing our approach.

Edward Goldstein

Newton Centre