Demilitarize Gaza, End Occupation


I want first to establish my credentials as a strong supporter of the Israel founded by the early Zionists. I grew up in a Zionist home, and as a teenager I led the junior congregation of the Conservative synagogue to which my grandparents and parents belonged. In the 1940s, while in college, I was the head of the Wisconsin chapter of IZFA, the Intercollegiate Zionist Federation of America. Although secular, I am and have always been a synagogue member.

I found Gary Rosenblatt’s column, “’Revenge’ Is Not Our Way” (July 11), to be shortsighted in its analysis of the Palestinian Arabs’ situation. They are not acting solely in response to the murder of Muhammad Abu Khdeir. Their hostility to Israel is also directed, understandably, to the harsh, unjust occupation of the West Bank, and its extreme repression of the Palestinian population of the area.

Of course, that does not justify, by any means, the bombing of Israeli territory or its population. Israel has every right to try to stop the rockets from Gaza — and from Lebanon. But if Israelis are to be able to permanently live in peace, other steps must be taken. First, Gaza must be demilitarized — as Israel proposed with respect to the West Bank under a two-state solution. A peaceful Gaza, under international guarantees and oversight, would solve the threat of Hamas rockets. Along with that an independent and demilitarized West Bank will enable Israel to terminate its horrendous occupation and to become the peaceful, idealistic nation its founders envisaged.

Without these steps Israel will continue to be a militaristic nation and, ultimately, will be an apartheid state. It is incumbent on every lover of Israel to work to avoid such an outcome.