THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
MIDEAST TALKS, AND THE FACTS ON THE GROUND

Unfair to lump Israel’s settlers with Hamas as roadblocks to peace

May 15, 2010

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IN “A ground rule for Mideast talks’’ (Editorial, May 10), you write, “Without doubt, determined spoilers — be they members of Hamas or extremist Israeli settlers — will try to sabotage the talks’’ among Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and special Mideast envoy George Mitchell. I think that it is unfair to group Hamas, a world-recognized terror organization responsible for thousands of deaths (including those of US citizens) to Israel’s settler population.

While there might be some fringe “settlers’’ out there, the vast majority are law-abiding Israeli citizens living in West Bank communities who are interested in leading normal and peaceful lives.

While the burning of a mosque should be condemned, it is premature to automatically assume that the settlers were responsible until the current investigation is completed and its findings are released.

Josh Hasten
Jerusalem
The writer is a former spokesperson for the Yesha Council, representing Jewish communities in the West Bank and, in the past, Gaza.

YOUR EDITORIAL “A ground rule for Mideast talks’’ made a good point: “Neither side can allow provocation from any quarter to abort the negotiations.’’ Then you appear to create a moral equivalence between Hamas and “extremist Israeli settlers.’’

Israelis did not send rockets into the homes of Gaza; however, rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel. Settlers have consistently not attacked and murdered Arab villagers; however, Arabs have consistently attacked and murdered Jewish settlers and recently so.

You cite the burning of a mosque in the West Bank, but do not mention that Arabs had just before firebombed three synagogues in the West Bank, including their sacred Torahs.

Negotiations with a group that officially denies the legitimate existence of the state of Israel are not too hopeful.

Sol and Carol Fineblum
Needham

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