In “Israel’s best strategy is to forego annexation” (As I See It, June 25), Max Kleinman reaches the correct conclusion that Israel should forego annexation of areas within the West Bank, but his reasoning is wrong. (Full disclosure: I had the pleasure of working with Kleinman at the United Jewish Federation of MetroWest in the mid-1980s.)
I agree that foregoing annexation will help maintain Israel’s developing relationships with several Arab countries. However, Israel does not have the “right to claim these territories as its own,” as Kleinman posits. If it did, Israel would have done so a long time ago. And, even if Israel did have the right, doing so would forever deny citizenship to those Palestinians who live in the annexed territories in Israel or elsewhere.
Kleinman also trots out the standard talking points of Israel’s genuine interest in a negotiated settlement and the Palestinian history of “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity,” according to Abba Eban.
It should be clear to my former colleague that the Trump administration’s so-called “peace plan” was a charade and that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has zero interest in any settlement that includes a Palestinian state, thereby leaving millions of human beings stateless. I have no illusions about the corrupt and inept Palestinian Authority or the terrorist Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip. Nonetheless, Palestinians are human beings who deserve citizenship in their own country.
Finally, the status quo is not “working out well” for Israel. Israel is financially and militarily secure. But Israeli writers, politicians, soldiers, and rabbis attest to the occupation’s cancerous impact on the Israeli soul. No, my friend, the occupation is not working out well for Israelis or Palestinians.