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Opinion | Analyzing Bernie Sanders’s Vision for Mideast Peace

Admin By Admin Nov27,2023


To the Editor:

Re “Palestinians Must Have Hope for a Brighter Future,” by Bernie Sanders (Opinion guest essay, Nov. 23):

Senator Sanders states what has been obvious for decades to all who support two states living in peace, prosperity and dignity: The violence must end. The question is, how?

Each act of brutality radicalizes the other side. In this long struggle, extremists on both sides scuttle every hope for compromise and ensure the endless cycle of murder and retaliation.

The U.S. can pressure Israel by curtailing or attaching conditions to aid. Who or what can pressure Hamas and its allies? What, specifically, can disempower the Islamic radicals, defang the Israeli settlers and offer a path toward a commitment to peaceful coexistence on both sides?

Those who claim that Hamas’s war is somehow justified by Israeli actions (heinous as they may be) ignore its stated goal of eradicating Israel and killing Jews. Ultimately, this is a regional problem that requires a regional solution.

Senator Sanders and other peace-loving Americans must call on those Arab states that support Palestinian extremists to end their support and work toward genuine transformation.

I support Senator Sanders’s vision, but he doesn’t propose a concrete path forward, without which nothing will change.

Ellen W. Kaplan
Raleigh, N.C.

To the Editor:

While Senator Bernie Sanders offers what he believes to be constructive steps for Israel-Palestinian rapprochement, his prescription places nearly all of the obligations upon Israel. Of the 1,517 words in the senator’s essay, only these 13 words — “new Palestinian leadership will be required as part of a wider political process” — are demanded of the Palestinians. Not enough, in my opinion.

Here are just a handful of steps the Palestinians could take to demonstrate seriousness and good faith: Once and for all recognize Israel’s right to exist as an independent and sovereign Jewish state; hold free and fair Palestinian elections to put into place the new leadership Senator Sanders calls for; demand, without equivocation, Hamas’s permanent removal from Gaza and reject its political ideology committed to Israel’s destruction; cease providing financial compensation to the families of individuals who commit acts of terror against Israelis; remove antisemitic and historically inaccurate propaganda contained in textbooks used in Palestinian schools; reject the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (B.D.S.) movement targeted against Israel; and, finally, demonstrate a willingness to accept the peace proposals offered by Israel in previous rounds of failed negotiations, proposals that were continually rejected by the Palestinians under Yasir Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas.

Senator Sanders has articulated what Israel must do to advance peace in his view, but in order to balance the peace equation there is clearly much that the Palestinians can and must do to end the perpetual cycle of violence.

Mark S. Freedman
Parkland, Fla.
The writer is the North American board chair of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, based in Jerusalem.

To the Editor:

Senator Bernie Sanders’s essay was well balanced, educational and pragmatic.

I wish the senator would have completed his comparison of deaths to date in the Gaza war. While the equivalent of 1,200 Israeli deaths on a per capita basis in the United States would be a shocking 40,000 lives, Senator Sanders didn’t say what the equivalent of 12,000 Palestinian deaths would be.

Perhaps he did the math and didn’t want to write down the unimaginable figure of almost two million.

I hope for a resolution of this war so there are no more needless civilian deaths on either side.

Harry Irwin
Cambridge, Mass.



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