Letter to the Editor: Toby F. Block
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Letter to the Editor: Toby F. Block

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It’s been obvious for a while that Israel needs electoral reform.

Three elections in very short period of time failed to produce a single party that came within twenty seats of having a majority of the Knesset’s 120 seats, requiring parties to cobble together coalitions of several small parties, leaving each coalition in constant danger of losing its ability to govern if even one party withdrew its support.

Jan Jaben-Eilon’s article illustrates how this situation can have a very real effect on the lives of Israeli citizens and I hope that the political parties will consider that fact as they face the probability of new elections.

The main reason I’m writing is to point out how common misperceptions complicate Israeli governance. Jaben-Eilon tells us that the Green Line represents Israel’s internationally recognized borders. The fact is that it marks the position of troops when the 1949 armistice ended the Arab-initiated violence known as Israel’s War of Independence.

In 1949, Arab states insisted that the line did not denote Israel’s borders. Only after 1967 did Arab states and the Palestine Liberation Organization (forerunner of the Palestinian Authority) decide that the Green Line was a boundary that Israel was not allowed to cross, even as she defended her people from intended genocide by countries that, prior to 1967, occupied land that the Palestinians today claim they want for a state of their own.

I also wonder why Jaben-Eilon thought it necessary to point out that Israeli settlements beyond the Green Line are considered illegal under international law. As mentioned above, Israel liberated Gaza and “The West Bank” from Egyptian and Jordanian occupation in a defensive war.

The Arab League rejected Israel’s 1968 offer to withdraw from liberated land in exchange for recognition and peace. In 1993, Israel and the Palestinians signed the Oslo Accords. Since then, all Palestinians in Gaza and 95% of Palestinians in Judea and Samaria have been living under the administration of leaders of their own choosing.

Those leaders have refused to negotiate on Final Status talks (envisioned by Oslo to have been completed by 2005). Why should Jews be kept from building communities on land of religious and historic importance to them (and of strategic importance to Israel) because Israel’s enemies have chosen violence over negotiation?

Toby F. Block, Atlanta

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