Israeli Settlements' Role in Mideast Conflict
Re "Burdens on Peace: Fences and Arafat's Empty Words," letters, Nov. 24: Bruce Friedman asks, "What will Israel receive in return [for removing the settlements]?" First, Israeli soldiers won't have to guard the settlements anymore and will be able to focus on protecting Israel proper. Second, Israel will rid itself of a huge moral liability when it stops controlling the lives of the Palestinians. Third, Israel will rob Yasser Arafat of his ability to blame Israel for all Palestinian woes; this will encourage the Palestinians to find better leaders. Fourth, separation from the Palestinians will silence calls for a "unified state" that would destroy Israel's Jewish character. Clearly, evacuating the settlements is in Israel's interest even without reciprocal gestures from Arafat.