I agree with Stephen M. Flatow that the American government should honor the memory of American victims of terror, but not, as he suggests, by having American diplomats attend funerals in the West Bank (“How to honor Ezra Schwartz,” web only).
Mr. Flatow cites the example of murdered American Sarah Blaustein, whose funeral in the settlement of Efrat American officials did not attend. He refers to Efrat as “an Israeli city” in “disputed territory.” In fact, Efrat is an illegal settlement in occupied territory. It may one day become a part of Israel, but only as a result of negotiations, which are not currently in the works, and in exchange for Israeli concessions, which are not currently on offer.
It is tragic that Sarah Blaustein, whose funeral American officials did not attend, was murdered. It is tragic that Ezra Schwartz, whose memorial service American officials attended, was murdered. It is tragic that Mr. Flatow’s daughter, Alisa, was murdered. These were all deplorable acts of terrorism and their victims’ memories should be honored.
However, erasing the distinction between Israel and the territory it occupies is not the proper way to honor these victims, nor is Mr. Flatow’s other suggestion of reducing U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority, which — despite its sometimes irresponsible rhetoric — is providing security cooperation to Israel that helps to combat terrorism. Both of these only make it harder for a two-state solution ever to be realized. That solution, if it is ever reached, will be the true memorial to the dead, as, in the opinion of most Israeli security experts, it will be the surest and most permanent safeguard against terrorism.
Martin J. Levine
The writer serves as the communications chair of the Northern New Jersey chapter of J Street.