J Street official Alan Elsner erroneously claims (“Why I joined J Street,” WJW, Dec. 13) that if Israel builds in the “E-1” corridor linking Jerusalem with nearby Ma’ale Adumim, it “would cut the West Bank in two, destroying the possibility of creating a contiguous Palestinian state on the territory.”
Earlier in December, CAMERA obtained corrections from The New York Times for this same error. If Israel develops the four square miles of E-1 – the proposal is 20 years old – the West Bank still would be nine miles wide at its narrowest point southeast of Ma’ale Adumim. Israel in the pre-1967 armistice lines is nine miles wide just north of Tel Aviv, four miles wide just west of Jerusalem. Is J Street worried about that contiguity?
In addition, a road built in 2007 through E-1 could be used to link vehicular traffic in the southern and northern parts of the West Bank, and another could be constructed to the east. Further, Ma’ale Adumim, the largest West Bank Jewish community, is one of those blocs reportedly to become part of Israel in any two-state compromise.
Elsner also alleged that “Israel’s own actions, little by little, day by day, apartment block by apartment block, new road by new road, sliver of land by sliver of land, are destroying … [the hope of] the two-state solution. …” Virtually no new construction outside existing settlements has been authorized under either prime ministers Ehud Olmert or Benjamin Netanyahu. After nearly 45 years of building settlements, Jewish villages and towns comprise less than 5 percent of the West Bank.
The writer omits that Palestinian leaders rejected U.S. and Israeli offers of a West Bank, Gaza Strip and eastern Jerusalem “Palestine” in exchange for peace with Israel in 2000, 2001, and 2008, the first two times opting instead for the terror war of the second Intifada.
If, as Elsner writes, “J Street tries to foster and encourage a much-needed conversation within our community about Israel,” it needs to be a bit more factual, and to include Palestinian behavior in the discussion.
Washington director, CAMERA Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America