Opinion | The Agony of Israel and the Palestinians

To the Editor:

Re “The Misery of Life Under Occupation” (front page, May 23):

If one is to hope for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which many believe is the ideal outcome for a balanced peace, presenting a singular perspective like yours only makes that outcome more remote.

In any conflict, there are wrongs on both sides, and Israel is not beyond reproach. That said, the ruthless and violent rule of Palestinians in Gaza by Hamas and the refusal of the Palestinian Authority to hold democratic elections in the West Bank are other causes of misery for the Palestinian people.

Misery also exists for the Israeli families who lost loved ones to suicide bombs, rocket attacks and other acts of terror. That, too, should not be ignored, and neither side in this or any conflict has a monopoly on misery.

The suffering caused by this conflict is sadly shared by all who live there and all who care. Recognizing and articulating the problem in a wider and balanced perspective, for both sides, is the best hope for a comprehensive understanding of the issues and hopefully can lead to a meaningful dialogue on solutions.

Eli S. Weiss
New York

To the Editor:

I never thought that I’d live to see this day: a full, front-page article that exposes the realities of Palestinian life under Israel’s military rule. The stories you document about house demolitions, children terrorized by late-night raids, a mother separated from her children because of draconic residency restrictions, and the daily indignities of checkpoints and apartheid separations of roads and neighborhoods are horrific and heartbreaking.

None of it is news to Palestinians living in the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem or within Israel. Nor is it news to many thousands of your Jewish readers, like me, who have visited Palestine and closely followed what is happening on the ground.

Still, I say mazel tov to you for this shift in The Times’s coverage of Israel and Palestine. It signals a real change in the narrative among mainstream media voices, a change that can be attributed only to the strength, scale and persistence of Palestinians and their many allies across the world who have spent their lifetimes seeking justice for Palestine.

Rosalind P. Petchesky
New York
The writer is professor emerita of political science at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center.

To the Editor:

While there are certainly Palestinians who yearn for a better life that is devoid of strife, your decision to impugn Israel for the present state of affairs is disingenuous and unjustified.

Israel’s enduring struggle for its very survival stems from an array of existential threats, including rocket attacks aimed at civilian centers and heinous acts of terror carried out by militant extremists intent on obliterating Israel. It is due to the actions of the terrorists, whose wanton disregard for human life extends to both Israelis and rank-and-file Palestinians. Israel has no choice but to carry out security measures intended to safeguard its people.

Painting a picture that portrays Israel as the aggressor while failing to hold Hamas and other terrorist organizations accountable for fomenting violence that adversely affects the daily lives of Palestinians is irresponsible. At a time of rising anti-Semitism and increasing anti-Israel animus, I encourage you to put a greater emphasis on impartiality in your reporting.

N. Aaron Troodler
Bala Cynwyd, Pa.

To the Editor:

Re “For Israel and Hamas, Root Causes of Conflict Are Far From Resolved” (front page, May 22):

Your reporting makes clear an essential truth: While both Hamas and the Netanyahu government rely on military force, it has utterly failed them. The Palestinian movement is no closer to achieving national self-determination. Israeli insecurity is high, with Hamas rockets, protests across Jerusalem, Arab-on-Jew and Jew-on-Arab violence in pre-1967 Israel, and pro-Palestinian protests across the region.

It is time for different leaders and a different approach.

Jeremy Pressman
West Hartford, Conn.
The writer is the author of “The Sword Is Not Enough: Arabs, Israelis and the Limits of Military Force.”

To the Editor:

Re “For Palestinians, This Moment Is Different,” by Yousef Munayyer (Opinion guest essay, May 21):

For me, the story of Israel is the story of dispossession, of one group denying the rights, realities and even existence of another group. It is a prime example of the creation of human polarities, and of brutality and blindness.

For me, as a Jew, the example of the denial of Palestinian rights is shameful. It is the story of victims turning themselves into victimizers. When that’s acknowledged and addressed, there’ll be hope; Jews in the United States and globally must take a moral stand, not only for Palestinians, but also for our own humanity.

Julie Diamond
New York

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