Jonathan Mark’s “Media Watch” column, “Netanyahu Off The Hook” (Sept. 17), attempts to make the case that Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority are not to be trusted, and are incapable anyway of delivering peace because of Hamas.
I don’t deny that the violence of Hamas, the ongoing Palestinian disunity and instances of incitement or ill will from the PA are problems, but it is an illusion to believe that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is literally off the hook when it comes to proving Israel’s good will by at least temporarily continuing some form of moratorium on settlement expansion. The displacement of Palestinians in their neighborhoods in east Jerusalem and elsewhere, the takeover of Palestinian fields and ongoing instances of settler violence are all problems as well. It is incumbent upon both sides to curtail obstacles to peace emanating from within their respective nations.
As for understandable doubts on the ability of Abbas to deliver in the face of Hamas, would not a signed agreement on a two-state solution be a tremendous boost to Palestinians who advocate negotiations, as opposed to Hamas and other violent factions? Even Hamas has announced support for a Palestinian referendum on such a peace agreement. Should not Israel do all it can to make such an agreement possible?