Thursday, August 31, 2006

The settler issue is a non-issue, Israeli Arabs are the proof

Everyone makes a big deal about Israeli settlers. But this is a complete non-issue.

About 15% of Israel's population is Arabs, most living in Arab towns spread throughout Israel. (Note that I'm talking about Arab citizens in mainstream Israel, not in the West Bank or Gaza.) All have the right to vote, and there are several Arab members of Israeli Parliament, all elected through due process.

Why can't a Palestinian state be started in the West Bank, with Jewish settlements remaining in place similar to Arab towns in Israel? These Jews might choose to leave, or might choose to stay and live within the newly formed Palestinian state as a minority. If Arabs can stay and live in Israel, why can't Jews stay in settlements in the West Bank?

Now, we all know that this will never happen, because the Palestinians will kill them all. But let's admit reality: there's no rational difference between Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Arab towns in mainstream Israel, and Jewish settlers would not receive the same rights in a Palestinian state that Israeli Arabs receive in Israel. This is proven by the fact that the Palestinians insist that Jewish settlements be removed.

Bottom line, this is a theoretical argument, because Israel will forcably move settlers if it would help bring peace, as we did in Gaza. But it's important to realize that the settlers aren't the issue preventing a Palestinian state, the problem is the lack of Palestinian desire to live with a two-state solution, and a lack of Palestinian desire to really build a country.

Anti-Israel anti-semitism

(This is my first blog-only message after posting all my letters to the editor...)

I had an interesting discussion on an on-line forum recently.

I made the statement that Israel wants paece and would do anything for peace, including withdrawing from territory and forcing citizens to move (as we did in Gaza), if the Palestinians would agree to stop terror and accept a two-state reality.

I expected argument. But I didn't expect what I saw.

The primary responses that I received were "oh, so you think you're chosen!" and "what do you expect when you believe you deserve the land because of the Bible?"

I've always heard that anti-Israel sentiment was driven by anti-semitism, but having grown up very mainstreamed in America, I never really believed it. But it's true. When people feel like arguing with Israel, and nothing rational comes to mind, what comes out is pure anti-semitism.

Maybe they don't even realize it. When I pointed it out, they ignored it. But that's what they had written.

So all that we Israel supporters can do it keep making our rational points. Anti-semetic vindictive just means that they have no rational response. And we can hope that some non-anti-semites are reading or listening.

Israel will keep praying for peace, hopefully one day the world will understand.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

LA Times letter 2006 August 1: Pointing fingers in the Mideast conflict

Pointing fingers in the Mideast conflict

Re "Israel to Halt Bombing for 48 Hours," July 31

Looking at history, this is yet another repeat of the withdrawal from Lebanon six years ago and the withdrawal from Gaza a year ago. Both led directly to terror because they were not met on the Arab side with a commitment to end terror.

How many more withdrawals does Israel have to carry out before the world realizes that the only way to bring peace is a two-sided commitment to peace? How many flare-ups does the world need to see before we admit the real problem, the lack of commitment to peace on the part of the Arab countries?

Beit Shemesh, Israel

Washington Post letter 2006 August 1: Lebanon and Israel: Is Diplomacy Worth It?

Lebanon and Israel: Is Diplomacy Worth It?

I'm glad that Warren Christopher ["A Time to Act," op-ed, July 28] believes that previous U.S. diplomatic interventions in the Middle East were successful. I grew up in Washington, and I understand that from his Washington perspective, they probably looked successful. But from Israel, where terrorism has never stopped since Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon and Gaza, all previous examples are of failure.

Israel is learning from history. History shows that leaving terrorist infrastructure intact leads to more terrorism in a few years. Every time we fail to learn from that history, we doom ourselves to repeat it. If the Western world continues to put the pressure where it belongs, on Arab terrorists and supporters of terrorism, maybe we can break the historical cycle and have true peace.

Beit Shemesh, Israel

Time magazine Europe letter 2006 August 15: The war that never ends

The war that never ends

Your article "Hate thy neighbor" did an excellent job of summarizing the situation in the Middle East, but the statement that "Bush has showed no interest in [negotiating], and Washington is handicapped by its unwillingness to negotiate with four of the key players" misses the point.

The only way to establish peace in the region is to eliminate terrorism, both by destroying terrorist infrastructure and by ensuring that terrorism is never rewarded. Stopping the violence and forcing negotiations before that is accomplished will put us in the same situation a few years down the road. Preventing Israel from destroying terrorists is not in the interest of peace.

Bruce Dov Krulwich
Beit Shemesh, Israel

Boston Globe letter 2006 July 23: Violence escalates in Middle East

Violence escalates in Middle East

HOW ON earth can anyone think to pressure Israel to stop attacks before destroying terrorist infrastructure?

Withdraw from Lebanon? We did that six years ago, and terrorism followed. Withdraw from Gaza? We did that a year ago, and terrorism followed. Offer complete withdrawal from Palestinian areas of the West Bank? We did that eight years ago, and terrorism followed.

The simple historical reality is that Israel's nice actions are always interpreted as weakness by Arab neighbors, and terrorism follows. Until terrorist infrastructure is destroyed, withdrawing from Lebanon will doom Israel to repeat a history of terror against its citizens.

Beit Shemesh, Israel

NY Times letter 2006 June 19: On the Middle East, Words Do Battle, Too

On the Middle East, Words Do Battle, Too

To the Editor,

Re Diplomacy's Turn in Lebanon (July 18, 2006):

Your statement that many lives depend on a quick halt to the fighting is only true is a significant amount of terrorist arms and infrastructure is wiped out first. Doing so is not only in Israel's interests, but the interests of the whole free world. Otherwise, in a short while we'll be back to square one. Peace will not come from ignoring or turning a blind eye to terror.

Bruce Dov Krulwich
Beit Shemesh, Israel

NY Times letter 2006 May 16: Money to Terrorists

Money to Terrorists

To the Editor:

Re ''Cold, Hard Cash,'' by Geoff D. Porter (Op-Ed, May 11):

I find it mind-boggling that anyone can continue to think that supporting terrorists will lead to a moderation of terror. The Palestinians were offered a state by Israel's prime minister, Ehud Barak; the answer was terror. Israel has pulled out of Gaza, and the response has been more than 500 Qassam rockets fired into Israel. The Palestinians were given weapons to control terror; those weapons were used in terrorist acts.

I beg the world, for the sake of the lives of my children and all children living in Israel, please do not revert to giving money to terrorists.

Bruce Dov Krulwich
Beit Shemesh, Israel, May 11, 2006

Washington Post letter 2003 January 10: Israel's Responsibility

Israel's Responsibility

I grew up in Bethesda. Now I live in Israel, and I want to make something clear to Americans:

It's irrelevant which Palestinians support terror and which do not. Israel cannot allow its citizens to be butchered by bombs like the ones on Sunday ["Double Bombing Kills 23 in Israel," front page, Jan. 6]. Israel's statements against a Palestinian state are not political, and they are not vengeful; they are simply statements of fact, that no country can support the killing of its citizens. The same is true of Israel's defensive actions, such as closing Palestinian borders to make sure no terrorists enter Israel.

Our safety is not political or theoretical, it's Israel's responsibility.


NY Times letter 2005 January 12: Mideast Prospects After Abbas's Victory

Mideast Prospects After Abbas's Victory

To the Editor:

Re ''Signs of Life After Arafat'' (editorial, Jan. 11):

Palestinian terrorism has not, as you claim, ''given the Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, an excuse to refuse to negotiate a peace deal.''

Terrorism is non-peace. Terrorism is the antithesis of peaceful coexistence.

For there to be a chance of peace in the Middle East, Western countries must stop making excuses for terror. If terror stops, peace will be possible, and Israel will be thrilled.

Bruce Krulwich
Beit Shemesh, Israel, Jan. 11, 2005

NY Times letter 2003 October 8: When Israel Acts Against Terror

When Israel Acts Against Terror

To the Editor:

Re ''A Turn for the Worse in the Mideast'' (editorial, Oct. 7):

Israelis, and Americans living in Israel, have to live every day with the horrors of their buses, malls and shops being bombed by Palestinian terrorists. Israeli military experts, so venerated by Americans after the World Trade Center attack, determined that the recent Israeli response was the correct one.

How can Americans try to dissuade Israel from doing what it deems best to combat terror?

Jerusalem, Oct. 7, 2003

NY Times letter 2003 May 22: A Viable Mideast Peace

A Viable Mideast Peace

To the Editor:

Re ''Breaking the Mideast Deadlock'' (editorial, May 21):

Israel has lifted Palestinian restrictions many times and has repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to do so.

But this always results in the killing of Israeli civilians, a dozen in the last week alone.

As an American living in Israel, I think that it would be negligent for the Israeli government to open the borders again until there is evidence from the Palestinians that such a move won't lead to the death of Israeli citizens.

Jerusalem, May 21, 2003

NY Times letter 2002 December 18: A Mideast Wall

A Mideast Wall

To the Editor:

Re ''No Peace in Sight, Israelis Trust in a Wall'' (front page, Dec. 17):

To say Israel's construction of a security wall reflects, from the Palestinian viewpoint, ''clear and pure'' hate on Israel's part is to ignore history.

Israel offered more than 90 percent of the West Bank to the Palestinians at Camp David. There was no hatred, only hope for peaceful coexistence. The Palestinians chose instead to start the present war.

The current situation, in which Israel needs a wall for its own safety, was not Israel's choice, but the Palestinians'.

Jerusalem, Dec. 17, 2002

NY Times letter 2002 October 9: East and West Jerusalem

East and West Jerusalem

To the Editor:

''Angry at U.S., Palestinians Ratify Capital in Jerusalem'' (news article, Oct. 7) does not mention the fact that the western half of Jerusalem, where the American government plans to locate a future embassy, has been Israeli since the inception of the state.

The only land under dispute is the eastern half, which Israel offered the Palestinians at Camp David. Perhaps the Palestinians should be angered by Yasir Arafat's having said ''no'' to this offer.

Jerusalem, Oct. 7, 2002

NY Times letter 2002 June 19: Israel's Pain and Arafat's Future

Israel's Pain, and Arafat's Future

To the Editor:

Re ''Suicide Bomber Hits Jerusalem'' (front page, June 18) and ''Sharon Rejects Proposals for Interim Palestinian State'' (news article, June 17):

Suppose another country were killing dozens of Americans a week. Would America be rushing to make ''provisional'' reconciliatory gestures? Or would it do whatever was necessary to guarantee the safety of American citizens?

Jerusalem, June 18, 2002

NY Times letter 2002 April 9: Israel and America, Out of Step

Israel and America, Out of Step

To the Editor:

Re "Israel Persisting With Wide Sweep Despite U.S. Calls"(front page, April 8):

I am an American citizen living in Jerusalem who can't goto the supermarket or coffee shop safely because ofPalestinian terror, and now President Bush wants Israel tostop its military operation before finishing steps toguarantee my safety and the safety of others here.

President Bush made clear with the Taliban hisunderstanding of the need to destroy terroristinfrastructure. Apparently, the lives of Americans (andIsraelis) living in Israel are not worth as much as thoseof Americans living in New York.

If President Bush really wanted to aid peace in the MiddleEast, he would address the true issue and do somethingconcrete to eliminate the terrorism. Then he could get thecredit that former President Bill Clinton wanted at CampDavid, and Israel can safely make offers, as it always has.


Jerusalem, April 8, 2002