Ross Mackenzie

Why is Israel so -- you know -- intransigent and mean?

About what?

It would be so easy if the Israelis just lived up to their commitment not to build on Palestinian land and gave the Palestinians their land back so the Palestinians could create a country of their own and get on with their lives.

You've got a lot of false premises flying around. One is that Palestine belongs to today's "Palestinians." Another is that the Israelis ever agreed to a blanket moratorium on settlements and construction in the West Bank -- lands the Palestinians claim as theirs. Yet another is that Israel is adamant in its opposition to creation of a Palestinian country.

I dunno. The Israelis are so obstreperous, so in your face, so my way or the highway. They just don't seem to get it.

Maybe they get it too well. Look. Since the 1948 creation of Israel --

On Palestinian land!

WHOA! Both Jews and Arabs had lived in Palestine for thousands of years. In 1948, Palestine was -- as it is now -- not a country but a region. Like New England, it is a region, not a sovereign entity with a government and laws. Israel was created under United Nations auspices following the Holocaust -- to give Jews the homeland they never had had.

It was the Palestinians' land, and they deserve it back so they can establish a country of their own -- with their own government and laws.

No sooner had Israel been declared a nation than neighboring Arab countries invaded -- and over the years invaded several more times. In every war they waged, in each with overwhelming numbers, they lost. Israel won, and in winning gained considerable territory beyond its original 1948 borders.

The Palestinians deserve a country of their own, too. Why don't the Jews just let them do that? Now they're not even agreeing not to build on Palestinian land.

A COUNTRY for the Palestinians would be fine -- if. If the new country of Palestinians would agree not to wage war against Israel. If the Palestinians simply would acknowledge that Israel exists. Most Palestinian and Arab maps don't show -- purposely will not show -- a geographic entity labeled "Israel."

That's ridiculous.

Absolutely it's ridiculous. The current Netanyahu government says it will agree to a limited moratorium on more building in land the Palestinians want back if the Palestinians will acknowledge Israel's existence. The Palestinians have said, as they have said repeatedly in the past, no deal.

It's difficult to comprehend how the Palestinians can presume to negotiate with a ghost -- an entity, the government of Israel, whose very reality it will not formally acknowledge.

Ross Mackenzie

Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.

Be the first to read Ross Mackenzie's column. Sign up today and receive delivered each morning to your inbox.