Essay explains conflict clearly, concisely

Thanks to the author of the Jan. 4 My Word for providing a clear, concise summary of the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

I hope it provides perspective to the many readers who proclaim Israel is entirely at fault for the bloody situation there. It is always disturbing to read the comments of well-meaning people who have no knowledge of the history of the region.

And to read the repeated venom directed at Israel, while so many parts of the world are ravaged by rape, torture and slaughter that we barely hear about, where is the righteous wrath of our citizens against those situations that are despairingly too many to list in this letter?

I would like to see this My Word repeated from time to time. We need to remember that there is not just one side at fault here.

Pamela Dernham

Oakland

Six words won't change Mideast history

The author of the Jan. 4 My Word is mistaken in her assertion that one sentence from Mahmoud Abbas is the missing key to Middle East peace.

The Palestine Liberation Organization recognized Israel in 1993, but the Israeli government insists that Palestinians recognize it as a Jewish state.

Israel can describe itself any way it wants. It is ridiculous to demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state when 20 percent of its citizens are Christian and Muslim Palestinians, treated as second-class citizens.

It will take more than six words to change Israeli-Palestinian history. The United Nations and the International Court of Justice have many resolutions condemning Israel for its violations of human rights and international law.

There are 500,000 settlers living in 121 illegal, heavily armed settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel is building walls and freeways to separate the Palestinians from the Israelis. As a result, there is not enough land left for a Palestinian state. The two-state solution is dead, and Israeli apartheid is thriving.

Israeli-Palestinian history will change course when we tell our representatives in Washington to stop sending billions of our tax dollars to Israel.

Enough is enough.

Nabil Wahbeh

Oakland

About time someone told truth about Israel

Bravo. I have waited a long time to read the true facts and applaud the author of the Jan. 4 My Word for her historical truth. As long as Hamas, Hezbollah and others refuse to accept Israel as a sovereign state, there can be no viable peace in that section of the Middle East.

Israel wants to be accepted as it has accepted its neighbors since its statehood.

Marilyn Grabina-Smiler

Alameda

Some inaccuracies in history of Jewish state

Historians would find something to take issue with virtually every sentence of the Jan. 4 My Word.

For example, she writes, "the Jewish state has a 2,000-year history in the Land of Israel." In fact, the history of the modern nation-state called Israel began in 1947. It is entirely different from lands inhabited by Jews in biblical times.

For centuries before 1947, the land called Palestine was home to Muslim, Christian and Jewish Palestinians who endured occupation by many foreign powers. Since the modern state of Israel was created, the non-Jewish indigenous Palestinian people have not been free. They are second-class citizens in Israel; subjects of a brutal military occupation in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem; or in the Diaspora, still forbidden to return to their homeland.

Consider the phrase "Jewish state." More than 20 percent of Israel's citizens are not Jewish. Would non-Christian U.S. citizens be willing to live in a "Christian state"?

Israeli negotiators insist that Palestinians "recognize Israel as a Jewish state," but they have never been willing to specify the borders of such a place. In 2002, the Arab League offered to recognize a modern state of Israel as defined by its pre-1967 borders.

Emily Wheeler

Oakland

Glad to see fair article on Israel

Thanks to the paper for the Jan. 4 My Word. I agree, and was glad to see this commentary.

Norman Licht

San Carlos