This is a letter to the editor I just sent in to the New York Times this morning Let's see if it is published.
Even though Israeli Prime Minister Netaniyahu has offered to negotiate with the Palestinian Authority without any preconditions ever since he took office, at every twist of the road the New York Times has placed all blame on him for any breakdown of the peace initiatives. Last week the New York Times published an article wherein it reported that a Palestinian document, authored by senior Palestinian Information Ministry official Al-Mutawakei Taha, alleges that the Western Wall, located in Jerusalem's Old City, is not a surviving remnant of the Biblical Jewish Temple destroyed by the Romans in 70 C.E., but is instead an integral part of the nearby al-Aqsa Mosque. I waited in vain for over a week to see whether the editor would comment on such a blatant distortion of history. Aren’t position papers like these impediments to peace too? Why the double standard?
Minimally, I would expect the editor to proclaim the rewriting of history “unhelpful” to the goal of negotiating peace and a two state solution. Trust is a two way street. Just as Israel must take trust building steps so too must the P.A. Jews have an unbroken bond to the Land of Israel from time immemorial. There has always been a continuous settlement of Jews in Israel even when the vast majority was exiled by force, first by the Babylonians and latter by the Romans. In fact Jews always comprised the majority of dwellers in holy cities like Jerusalem except when they were compulsorily banished by the occupying conquerors. Denying the Jewish connection to its holy sites like the Western Wall and Rachel’s tomb doesn’t further peace. People who want to erase each other only increases enmity and an atmosphere of distrust.
Rabbi Gary Greene
Marathon Jewish Center
245-37 60 Ave
Douglaston, NY 11362