Eric Alterman is entitled to his opinion (“The Republicans Heart Netanyahu,” June 17), but to my mind Benjamin Netanyahu was not sticking his finger in the eye of the American president nor playing patsy to the Republicans. Truthfully, it was high time to react vehemently to the timing of the administration’s call to “negotiate.” It is true that presidents have in the past uttered pretty much the same phrases about negotiations based on the 1967 lines. But the Palestinians have had almost 20 years since Oslo to make their adjustments toward peace and what have they contributed? Why is it that President Obama becomes infuriated with ‘settlement building’ in East Jerusalem, and not infuriated when he sees zero movement on the part of Palestinians. Why is it that nobody in the administration cares when the Palestinian side drags its feet during a settlement freeze? Netanyahu declared before the Congress that in principle he was in favor of a two-state solution. No Palestinian leader has unequivocally expressed willingness to say the same sentiment. Isn’t it time that be the basis for negotiations?
Perhaps in 1994, Alterman could criticize Israeli “hardline” politicians for not giving peace a chance. But after two intifadas, two proposals to share the land with the Palestinian, and after 18 years of not compromising on the issue of “right of return,” after decades of refusing to utter the phrase “Jewish State” and now a chilling uniting with a faction of Palestinian Hamas leadership sworn to the wholesale destruction not only of Israel but of the Jewish people in general, is it so hard to understand Israel’s hesitancy?