Why an obstacle?
I agree with the position taken in the March 25 letter “The only hope” that the presence of Jews in east Jerusalem does go to the heart of any potential two-state solution. Since it appears that the Palestinians cannot accept a Jewish presence in any place in the territory of a future Palestinian state, would they be expected to accept a Jewish presence within the pre-’67 Israel? The borders of pre-’67 Israel were essentially established by the 1948 armistice line that ended the first Arab-Israel war.
Why would the presence of Jews within the territory designated for a Palestinian state be an obstacle to its establishment of a viable Arab state? An Arab population had existed within the pre-’67 Israel since 1948. During the Jordanian control of east Jerusalem and the West Bank from 1948 to 1967, a Palestinian state did not exist. During this same time, Jews were neither present nor could they visit any Jewish sites in these two locations.
How can President Abbas be considered a partner for peace if he had rejected Prime Minister Olmert’s offer to accept a token amount of Palestinian refugees as an alternate to acceding to the current Palestinian demand that Israel accept the total return of these refugees? If Israel accedes to this demand it would cease to be a Jewish state.