Note: This letter appeared in The New York Times on August 4, 2009.
Letters to the Editor The New York Times
July 31, 2009
To the Editor:
Re "The Settlements Issue" (editorial, July 31):
You get it wrong in commending the Obama administration for taking a very hard line on Israeli settlements and rejecting reasonable compromises offered by Israel on the issue. So far only negative developments have resulted from the United States position.
The tension has led to the Israelis questioning whether the Obama administration is committed to the historic relationship between the United States and Israel, its principal ally in the Middle East.
The Palestinians believe that they need not negotiate directly with Israel, and the Arab countries are wondering why all the attention goes to settlements when their threatening neighbor Iran is getting closer to building a nuclear weapon.
An agreement on settlements in which Israel dismantles illegal outposts and ends expansion beyond the existing areas makes sense and would have benefits all around. It would put the focus for peace in the Middle East back where it belongs — on the failure of most of the Arab countries to recognize Israel's right to exist and end incitement.
This is a far more productive option than the one you support.
Glen S. Lewy National Chair
Media Watch ADL monitors electronic and print media reports about the Middle East