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Letter: Two-State Solution Seems Doomed

To the Editor:

I am a local high school teacher, and near the end of my summer vacation, I spent three weeks in the West Bank on a teacher fellowship studying the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For 10 days I lived with Palestinian families (Christian and Muslim) and toured their communities. For an additional 10 days, I stayed in the old city of Jerusalem. My experience was truly transformative in many respects, and I returned home with more questions, no answers and a strong desire to learn more. Naturally, I was interested in what Ehud Olmert, former prime minister of Israel, had to say at Dartmouth last week.

As expected, I heard him give support to (but no specifics about) the two-state solution. Yet no Palestinian I ever spoke with supported this solution, and even a brief review of a map of Israeli settlements on the West Bank makes one instantly skeptical about such a proposal. Take a look at any of the maps on the website of the U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs — Occupied Palestinian Territory (http://www.ochaopt.org). How can you effectively separate into two sovereign nations two groups of people who share (legally or otherwise) the same land? I met a number of young Palestinians, and, almost to a person, they all had plans to leave Palestine and create meaningful lives for themselves elsewhere. They don’t feel they have a future in Palestine (two-state solution or otherwise). And as a teacher who seeks to empower young adults to be the change they wish to see in the world, this was a particularly sad state of affairs to accept.

Stephen Johnson

South Pomfret

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