For a lasting peace, U.S. policy toward Israel must change

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The Post-Gazette’s editorial board is correct to recognize that there is no military solution to the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians and that a just and lasting peace can come only with a final agreement that recognizes the political rights of Palestinian Arabs as well as Israeli Jews (“America’s Role: The U.S. Must Seek a Lasting Solution in Gaza,” Aug. 5). The paper is also correct in noting that the United States has “considerable leverage” with Israel because of the $3.1 billion we provide in military assistance to Israel every year.

But this leverage does no one any good if our elected officials are either unwilling or too afraid to use it. Our government has been far from a neutral arbiter in this process; instead, we have bolstered Israel’s intransigent position at every turn. Israel’s excuse for refusing to undertake serious negotiations is a quarter-century-old Hamas charter that disputes Israel’s right to exist in theory, even while Israel has been denying Palestine’s right to exist in practice for decades — and doing so with U.S.-provided military equipment.

In 1993, at the time of the Oslo Accords, there were some 282,000 Israeli settlers on Palestinian land; now, after more than 20 years of a so-called “peace process,” there are well over a half-million and they dominate Israeli politics with their extremist political parties.

As long as the checks keep coming from the United States, Israel has no incentive to change its reckless policies, which are every bit as unsustainable as they are wrong and immoral.


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