Michael Koplow’s op-ed “Shelve the Mideast peace plan” (Jan. 30) informs readers about tough issues facing the Israelis and the Palestinians. Pres. Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is identified as an action that will make reaching an agreement more intractable. Yet, the article ignores the significance of Israel returning the Sinai back to Egypt as part of a peace agreement which did not undermine the inherent nature of either nation. Nor did the op-ed mention the gamble Israel took when it unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip and transferred control to the Palestinian Authority in an attempt to restart negotiations with them.
Although the op-ed reports that Israel is dismissive of the plight of the Palestinian refugees, it is silent on an earlier Israeli offer to allow the return of a limited number of refugees.
This humanitarian situation arose from the unsuccessful efforts by the Palestinian-Arab community to stop the Palestinian-Jewish community from establishing a nation on land where the Jews were the majority.
The problem was exacerbated in 1948 when Arabs attacked Israel and expelled their Jewish populations. The fate of these two groups of refugees diverged. Although the displaced Palestinian population was, and is now, confined to camps within the territories, initially it was under the governance of Arab states following the 1948 War of Independence, followed by Israeli governance since the Six-Day War, and currently under Palestinian Authority administration since 1994. The displaced Jewish population was absorbed by Israel and integrated into its society.
I agree with the writer’s suggestion that it would be productive to promote steps that facilitate movement toward an agreement. To reach this goal, would it be reasonable to expect that each party would modify their demands to avoid undermining the nature and aspirations of the other side?