A Dec. 10 Letter writer criticizes President Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and asks the U.N. to define a Palestinian state as it did for Israel. The fact is, the U.N. already did that in the 1947 Partition Plan. The Jewish agency accepted the plan and on May 14, 1948, declared the formation of Israel on the areas (mostly desert) allotted to the Jews by the Plan. The Arabs rejected the Plan and Syria, Jordan and Egypt attacked the Jewish settlers on May 15, the next day. Many additional attacks have been mounted, including in 1967 and 1973, with the goal of claiming all the land. Israel prevailed and holds Jerusalem and what is now called the West Bank. Only under Israeli control since 1967 have the holy sites been open to visitors. I have personally seen throngs of people of all religions from all over the world visiting those sites.

Because the Arabs rejected the Partition Plan, there has never been any formal agreement in place. For peace to occur, the Arabs in the area must acknowledge that Israel has a right to exist, renounce violence aimed at killing the Jews and taking all the land, and come to the negotiating table. I truly believe an agreement would be found if these simple conditions were met.

Ever since the 1948 war of independence, Israel has been governed from Jerusalem. I might disagree with the timing of the Jerusalem declaration, but that is not the obstacle to peace. - Michael Potash, Sioux City

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