Both letters on Israel and Palestine oversimplify their arguments (TNT, 8-4).
One writer, who holds Israel to “higher standards,” violates a fundamental principle of human society: reciprocity. When Hamas or Hezbollah chooses to rocket Israeli civilians, reciprocity justifies violence against their citizens. When Israel applies violence to Palestinian citizens, it has justified violence against its own.
No side has a moral right to violence without entailing an equal right to respond with violence. “Live by the sword, die by the sword.”
Each side writes compelling narratives to justify their violence. Before 1967, Jordan and Egypt occupied the West Bank and Gaza for 18 years. Palestinians who called for a state were imprisoned. Israeli was not the obstacle. The Palestinian state should have been founded before 1967.
If peace is the goal, both sides have adopted hopeless positions. Hamas and Hezbollah have huge numbers of missiles whose only purpose is to kill Israeli civilians. Israeli settlers explicitly occupy what must be Palestinian land and commit violence against Palestinians and their property. The extremes dominate.
Except for Egypt and Jordan, all Arab states remain at war with Israel. Occupation can only end as a product of peace and an end to war. The conditions for peace are two states, Israel and Palestine, side by side. There will be no Palestine without Israel, and Israel will not have peace without Palestine.
Boycotts unilaterally supporting one extreme only exacerbate hopelessness.
(Berniker lived in Israel for 11 years and served in the Israeli army.)