Status quo in Mideast is unsustainable

June 3, 2011

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WHAT IS a friend? The May 28 editorial “Israel’s foolish friends’’ rebukes critics of Barack Obama’s recent statements about Israel for disregarding the fact that Israel will be in a very precarious place if a two-state resolution isn’t reached soon. In the next day’s edition, Jeff Jacoby’s op-ed “Much ado about Netanyahu’’ gives his view that Obama “feels little instinctive warmth for Israel,’’ and it “is not so clear’’ that Obama is “a friend of Israel.’’

The editorial could not be more right and Jacoby more wrong. What Jacoby misses is that the status quo between Israel and Palestine is unsustainable. Israel can only have two of the following three options: retaining all the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, keeping its character as a Jewish state, and remaining a democratic state. Because of demographics, to remain a democratic and Jewish state, Israel must give up some land.

President Obama, as Israel’s friend, is urgently attempting to set a base line for restarting negotiations before the unilateral Palestinian declaration of statehood comes up for a UN vote in September. As the saying goes, “friends don’t let friends . . .’’

Zipora Ostroy

It’s no help to push Israel to make concessions YOUR EDITORIAL states that US “politicians of both parties did Israel no favors’’ when they criticized President Obama’s recent Mideast policy address ( “Israel’s foolish friends,’’ May 28). The Globe should instead ask whether those who advocate pressuring Israel to make concessions to the Palestinian Authority are doing the United States any favors, especially in light of the recent reconciliation and interim unity government agreement between the Palestinian Authority’s Fatah and the terrorist organization Hamas, which rules Gaza.

Hamas recently praised Osama bin Laden as a “holy warrior’’ and condemned his killing by American forces in Pakistan. Does the Globe think that anything good can come out of pressuring an American ally, Israel, to make concessions to an organization that idolizes the worst murderer of innocent Americans in history?

Jack J. Schuss