Letters to the Editor: June 23, 2020

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A Proposal for Israel

I believe “struggling” is not necessary to understand why Israel is interested in applying its sovereignty to portions of Judea and Samaria (“The Potential High Cost of Annexation,” June 26). Jewish inhabitants there are in legal limbo, unsure of their status while the Palestinian Authority dithers on negotiations. It would also clarify the borders Israel wants in a final peace agreement and show the Palestinian Authority the cost of continuing its “struggle” against the Jewish state. Finally, the current occupant of the White House is very pro-Israel.

Moreover, opponents are wrong to claim annexation prevents territory from becoming part of a possible Palestinian State. Specifically, the “Deal of the Century” suggests transferring to a future Palestinian nation territory in the Negev that was Israeli since 1949. In the 1990s, Prime Minister Netanyahu proposed to Hafez al-Assad returning the Golan Heights, annexed in 1981, to Syria as part of a peace treaty. Finally, the Palestinian Authority claims it wants a state based on the 1967 lines, but accepts minor “land swaps,” which would include territory part of Israel since its independence.

Nevertheless, to cope with the overwrought opposition of many of Israel’s friends (including Sen. Ben Cardin and Rep. Steny Hoyer) to annexation (the opposition of “non-friends” is a given), I suggest the following: On July 1, Israel announces what territory it intends to claim sovereignty over but delays implementation for six months. The Palestinian Authority is asked to begin negotiations for a final settlement of all outstanding issues. No action on Israeli sovereignty will be taken while talks proceed.

If by Dec. 31, the Palestinian Authority refuses or breaks off negotiations and President Trump wins reelection, Israel proclaims its sovereignty over the territory, pointing out it gave the Palestinian Authority six months to parley.

However, if Joe Biden (who says he will not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the “West Bank”) wins, Israel can stall or move slowly, as Benny Gantz said, “in coordination with the international community.” While this may mean no extension of sovereignty, Israel can delay four or eight more years until favorable conditions reemerge. After all, we waited nearly 2,000 years for Israel to be reborn.

Jerry Levin, Baltimore

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