It’s disingenuous to suggest that Israel has reneged on its original agreement to make Tel Aviv its capital [“Trump speaks the truth on Israel,” Letters, Dec. 15].

There is a good reason why that was so. In 1947, Israel agreed to the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine, in which Jerusalem was to be an international city, and the West Bank was to be largely a newly created nation of Palestine.

Unfortunately, the other party to the Partition Plan rejected this idea, and illegally occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank until it lost a war of aggression waged against Israel.

Before 1967, Jews — and not just Israelis — were excluded from visiting our holy sites in Jerusalem. However, since 1967, Christians and Muslims, even if they are from nations still technically at war with Israel, are welcome to visit Jerusalem. In this regard, Israel has demonstrated that it above all other claimants deserves to retain Jerusalem as its capital.

Leonard Cohen, Wantagh

 

Saudi Arabia must lead fight against ISIS

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The United States should not commit ground troops to defeat the Islamic State [“Iraq: Troops closer to wresting key city from ISIS,” News, Dec. 23]. Many Arab countries have long considered the United States to be invaders and occupiers. Our presence just inflames the problem in the region. Our role could be to supply air power and extensive drone coverage.

ISIS is essentially an Arab problem and even more so a Saudi Arabian problem. They are especially fearful not only of ISIS but of Iran. The ill-considered execution of the Iranian Shia cleric by the Saudis created a new dilemma for us. Saudi soldiers and Syrian refugees should be the boots on the ground to defeat ISIS and kill its leader.

Fleeing Syrians should go back and defend their homeland. Saudi Arabia has plenty of land and money to resettle the Syrians. They share similar language, customs, heritage and Sharia law.

If Saudi Arabia is unwilling to shoulder its burden by deploying soldiers, tanks and bombers, the United States should impose sanctions and freeze all Saudi assets here. Sanctions work — they forced Iran to the bargaining table. The problem was that the United States gave away too much. If we had doubled down and tightened the sanctions, we could have achieved the deal we needed.

It’s time that Saudi Arabia and its princes step down from the gambling tables of Las Vegas and step up to their responsibility.

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Jeffrey Myles Klein

Centereach