Response to Sticky Notes, Sticky Problems

    Dear Editor,
    In trying to be even-handed, Jordan Gill’s “Commentary: sticky notes, sticky problems”(Feb. 23) inadvertently misrepresents important aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    Mr. Gill concludes his commentary by saying: “When leaders in Palestine, both civil and religious, speak of wiping Israel off the map and rejecting a two state solution, don’t be surprised when Israel is a little less than willing to change its position.”
    This statement needs an explanation. For example, to which Palestinian leaders is Mr. Gill referring? I assume he means the leadership of Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, which has been under a devastating Israeli siege for the past decade. But the leadership of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank has accepted the idea of Israel and a two-state solution for about 25 years.
    This is important because Israel’s relentless building of illegal settlements is the single greatest obstacle to peace in the conflict and a development that has rendered the, “two state solution” all but impossible.
    All of this illegal building is taking place in the West Bank, on the land of the people who accept Israel and want a negotiated end to the conflict. In addition, putting hundreds of thousands of Israeli civilians onto Palestinian land and protecting them with an aggressive Israeli military machine does not make Israel safer, contrary to what is implied by Mr. Gill’s comment.
    Mr. Gill overlooks the fact that the official policy of the Likud Party, the leading governing party in Israel, is to adamantly reject the creation of a Palestinian state. This is likely the reason that the Israel has done all it can to make the two state solution impossible.
    Understanding these facts is important to a complete understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel is immeasurably more powerful than the Palestinians. The two sides are not equal and treating them as such is unfair. Emphasizing the past suffering of the Jewish people without acknowledging that, in this situation, the Palestinians are far more the victims, minimizes the reality of their experience. While I am sure this was not Mr. Gill’s intent, this is the effect.
    Shaun Narine


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