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Letters Week of Sept. 21, 2011

September 21, 2011
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Israel's Headed for Public Relations Nightmare 
I completely agree with opinion writers Harris Devor and Asaf Romirowsky (Editorial & Opinions: "It's Really Not About Palestinian Statehood," Sept. 15) that today Israel does not have -- and, in fact, has never had -- a negotiating partner among the Palestinian leadership either willing or able to recognize Israel's right to exist.

Those who might be able are not willing, and those who might be willing are not able. Nor will Israel have such a negotiating partner in the foreseeable future.

That is exactly why unilateral withdrawal from Southern Lebanon was the lesser evil back in 2000. That is exactly why unilateral withdrawal from Gaza was the lesser evil in 2005. And that is exactly why unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank is the lesser evil today.

If Israel is truly committed to a so-called two-state solution, then now is the time for Israel (and the United States and American Jews) to jump on -- and not in front of -- the Palestinian statehood bandwagon.

The Jewish state's most tragic international dilemma has long been its inability to tell its side of the story to the world at large.

By standing in the way of Palestinian national aspirations, Israel is about to bear the brunt of its biggest public-relations nightmare since the death of Jesus. 
Steve Mendelsohn 
Penn Valley

Most Important Question to Ask Is: 'Why Now?' 
Watching Palestinian maneuvering at the United Nations, the sacking of the Israeli Embassy in Cairo and Turkey's announced intent to force open Israel's weapons embargo of Gaza -- a blockade ruled lawful by a customarily hostile United Nations -- the question is: "Why now?"

Israel's enemies may see this as their best opportunity to destroy the Jewish state. Europeans barely want to defend themselves.

America's president has shown he is not afraid to act, but his rhetoric has enfeebled his actions. And polls suggest that, despite attempted outreach to Muslims, he is less popular in the Arab world than when he took office.

If the Palestinians wanted a state, they would have one. But it is not about Palestinian Arab autonomy, Jerusalem, the location of Jewish homes or the so-called refugees.

It is about the existence of a liberal democracy in a sea of intolerance, and unswerving Arab rejection of a Jewish majority state.

America's diplomats should not be expressing regret for supporting Israel. It persuades no one while controverting their efforts and confusing their message. If you throw blood into the water, it only excites the sharks. 
John R. Cohn 
Philadelphia

Never Forget: We Are at War, Pure and Simple 
Congratulations to opinion writer Abby Stamelman Hocky for trying to see the best in people while naively -- or is it purposely? --missing the obvious (Editorial & Opinions: "Striving to Create a Different Kind of Post-9/11 Building Project," Sept. 15).

When she writes "when extremists attacked the United States," I thought: They were not "extremists"; they were -- and are -- Islamic Jihadists.

She further states of the attack that "it was a cry of rage and desperation that no one heard until it was too late."

Forgive me, but enough of the "it's our fault" nonsense. It was simply an act of war and terrorism of the worst kind.

Make no mistake -- we are at war. We are fighting for our survival both as Americans and Jews; and more important, we're fighting for the lives of our children and grandchildren.

It is nothing more, and, sadly, nothing less. 
Lee B. Zeplowitz 
Bala Cynwyd

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