Letters to the Editor NY Times
Published: March 4, 2007
It’s exactly what Israel and the Palestinians do not need at this volatile time. We are talking about the attempt at a New Jersey synagogue to interest American Jews in putting up money for new or existing homes in Israeli settlements on the West Bank and perhaps moving there themselves.
Last weekend, Bnai Yeshurun synagogue in Teaneck sponsored a real estate fair by an Israeli group that attracted about 250 people from the New York-New Jersey area. It also brought dozens of angry demonstrators screaming at those who attended the fair.
Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, spiritual leader of the synagogue, portrayed the effort to encourage investment as a fulfillment of God’s commandment to Jews “to settle the land of Israel.” But expansion of the settlements is also a major obstacle to securing peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The anger in Teaneck was little more than a taste of the hostility the settlements provoke among Palestinians, who see the land as their own. Israel has occupied the territory since capturing it in the 1967 war.
The international, United States-backed road map for peace calls for a freeze on Israeli settlement activity coupled with a Palestinian renunciation of violence. Obviously, the Palestinians have not delivered on their part, but further expansion of the Israeli settlements would only worsen the situation.