To the Editor:
Your editorials about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, such as “Life After Ariel Sharon” (Jan. 6), repeatedly miss one salient, vital point: that a majority of Palestinians still do not believe that any Jewish state belongs in the Middle East.
Most Palestinians feel that Israel was illegitimately thrust upon them to atone for European anti-Semitism and the Holocaust.
Therefore, it is not an accident that in the West Bank or in Gaza those Palestinians who advocate peace will not and cannot control those who use violence, nor that even when Israel essentially proposed a return to the 1967 borders, as Ehud Barak did in 2000, “mainstream” Palestinians rejected such a generous offer.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and most Israelis, choose a peace of separation not because they prefer it, but because it is the only peace they see in the foreseeable future. Only when a significant majority of Palestinians recognize that a strong Israel is here to stay will there be peace in the Middle East.
Charles E. Schumer
U.S. Senator from New York
Washington, Jan. 6, 2006
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