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U.S. Middle-East Policy Is Backward, So it Is Failing (Letter to the editor, WSJ)

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Nov. 8, 2016

The White House should re-evaluate which side it is that needs to be pressured for peace to be possible

Regarding your editorial “Obama’s Israel Surprise?” (Nov. 1): President Obama’s efforts to achieve an Israeli-Palestinian peace are doomed to fail because he seems to believe that the path to peace lies in pressuring Israel to capitulate to Palestinian demands. This view ignores the historical lesson that the parties were never closer to an agreement than in 2000, when President Clinton stood with Israel and tried (and failed) to convince the Palestinians to make reasonable compromises for peace. Now the parties have never appeared further away, after nearly eight years of excusing Palestinian intransigence and terrorism while excoriating Israel at every turn.

Israel offered the Palestinians a state during talks in 2000, 2001 and 2008, only to see the Palestinians respond each time with rejection and terrorism. Since the Palestinian Authority effectively quit peace talks in 2009 without facing any consequences, it has exploited this “free pass” to reject reasonable compromise, incite deadly terror attacks on Israeli civilians, honor terrorists who have murdered Israeli children, demand that Jews be barred from Jewish holy sites in Jerusalem and submit resolutions to U.N. organizations that not only unfairly blame Israel but deny Jewish history itself.

The White House should re-evaluate which side it is that needs to be pressured for peace to be possible, lest it continue to exemplify George Santayana’s famous admonition that “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Stephen A. Silver

San Francisco

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