Israel must take action for a sustainable peace

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No one wants Israelis to live in peace more than I do. My daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren live there. And I have many friends and colleagues there, as well.

But I know that there is only one path to peace for Israel, and it is not through violence or rallies of support. It begins here: Israel must stop all settlement construction on the West Bank, construction that serves no function other than promoting Israeli expansion. And Israel must end economic and physical blockades of Gaza other than that which limits Palestinian offensive capabilities. Anything more is simply an attempt to make life in Gaza so intolerable that Palestinians will leave.

Can Israel be expected to tolerate rockets or suicide bombers sent into its territories? Of course not. But neither can the Palestinians be expected to tolerate the loss of their lands or economic strangulations.

There will be those who call my position naive or worse, but it is they who are naive. Both history and current events make clear that Israeli military actions cannot provide any movement toward long-term peace and that failed policies of settlement expansion and blockades must end. Israelis must demand that their government act accordingly. And we in the United States -- politicians, opinion makers and average citizens -- can help.

Yes, we must call for a sustained cease-fire, but we must go beyond that. We must insist that the United States take a more constructive position in its dealings with the Israeli government, making continued aid contingent on explicit moves by that government toward these two compromises. That is the only legitimate pro-Israel position.

MICHAEL ZIGMOND
Squirrel Hill


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