Sir, – I wish to thank Caroline B. Glick for sticking a pin into the inflated balloon called Shimon Peres (“Shimon Peres’s legacy,” Column One, May 30).
How long will it take till the extent of his damage to Israel is revealed?
Sir, – Caroline B. Glick writes: “Apparently led by Peres, the triumvirate of security chiefs serving between 2008 and 2011 – [then IDF chief of staff Gabi] Ashkenazi, then-Mossad director Meir Dagan and then-Shin Bet director Avi Dichter... leaked plans and discussions of possible Israeli strikes on Iran to the media in order to prevent them from being carried out.” Is this not proof of the confirmed unteachability of Israeli politicians and media?
On May 2, 1935, Winston Churchill said in the House of Commons: “When the situation was manageable it was neglected, and now that it is thoroughly out of hand, we apply the remedies which then might have effected a cure. There is nothing new in the story. It is as old as the Sibylline books. It falls into that long dismal catalogue of the fruitlessness of experience and the confirmed unteachability of mankind. Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong – these are the features which constitute the endless repetition of history.”
Sir, – What the president is or isn’t, what the president does or doesn’t, what the president is supposed to do or not do is a matter of law and the political experience of the past 66 years.
But why do only 120 Israelis get to vote for president? What about the other millions of eligible voters over whom he or she will preside?
The moral thing
Sir, – I have been fighting anti-Israel media bias in the US and New Zealand for 20 years. It is a difficult fight and we need your help.
During my present visit to Israel I read in “Jerusalem’s challenges” (Editorial, May 30) that there is a “severe shortage of classrooms in Arab schools,” that “[n]o large housing project has been completed for the growing Arab population for some time,” and that “[t]ens of thousands of residents of Arab neighborhoods... do not receive basic services such as garbage collection and sewage and water services.”
In my most recent letter to The Washington Post I called Israel “a beacon of humanity that shines out in the jungle of hate and violence around it. ” Please, can’t the government take immediate action to remedy these problems?
Silver Spring, Maryland
Can’t be ‘occupied’
Sir, – Anton Camen’s obfuscation (“Why the law prohibits settlement activities,” Comment & Features, May 27) ignores the basic fact that sovereignty over the “West Bank” was given to Israel and the Jewish people by the world powers following World War I.
Sovereignty over Judea, Samaria, Gaza and eastern Jerusalem had belonged to the Ottoman Empire until its defeat.
Title over these parts subsequently passed to the victorious principal allied powers (Britain, France, Italy and Japan) as per Article 132 of the Treaty of Sevres. The new sovereigns exercised their rights of disposition and explicitly transferred the right of dominion over Palestine to the Jewish people and their state-in-the-making at San Remo in 1920, and formalized it in the 1922 Mandate for Palestine.
This right was again recognized by the United Nations in 1945.
It should be obvious that the legal sovereign of a territory cannot possibly “occupy” that territory. Thus, all of Mr.
Camen’s arguments are rendered invalid.
Israel, and only Israel, should be free to settle any and all parts of these lands.
Sir, – I am shocked and surprised that you didn’t publish a contrasting article presenting in a convincing manner the legal position from the Israeli point of view. Without being an expert, I believe that one of the jurists who helped compile the Levy Report on settlements would be able to demonstrate an opposite thesis based on international law.
Just a photo-op
Sir, – Pope Francis invited President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to the Vatican to pray for peace (“Peres, Abbas accept invitation to pray at Vatican,” May 26).
Try to conjure up an image of leaders sincerely praying. Peres and Abbas are hardly the foremost personalities who jump to mind. Would it not have been more appropriate for the pope to have invited the chief rabbis and the mufti of Jerusalem to do the praying? This is cynical manipulation by political celebrities to further a useless theater of the absurd. It will just be another photo-op.
You can’t fool all the people all the time.
Not so sure
Sir, – Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis (“UK chief rabbi: Scottish Church’s stance on Israel ‘harmful, hurtful,’” May 25) was critical of the Church of Scotland’s “Inheritance of Abraham” report.
Only good manners and respect for his hosts prevented him from lambasting them further for what many Scottish Jews and non-Jews consider unequivocal anti-Semitism and a total denial of Jewish human rights.
Even as Rabbi Mirvis was given polite applause, preachers, teachers and anti-Jewish screechers claiming to represent the Church and its partner organizations were conducting coffee mornings, afternoon teas and soirees across Scotland that were specifically aimed at the denigration of Israel and the continued promotion of the disgraceful anti-Jewish report.
At the meeting of the Church’s general assembly, the moderator acknowledged that the two faiths had much in common and made a commitment to continue respectful dialogue, as did the Rev. Sally Foster Fulton, convener of the Church and Society Council. Yet Fulton was recently recorded telling one local gathering: “The Church of Scotland has chosen not to officially nail its colors to the mast in [support] of BDS for fear of legal action from the State of Israel which would be aimed at the Church of Scotland as an organization and a body – for our assets especially.”
Some Jewish communal leaders have expressed seeing a welcome change of heart in the Church. Others are not so sure.
The writer is secretary of the Scottish Friends of Israel
The article “The benefits that come with age” (Healthy Living supplement, May 30) said: “If either of the partners is working at the age of 67 for men and 64 for women and making more than NIS 4,700 a month, they are not entitled to a National Insurance pension but must wait until age 70 for men and 67 for women. At that point, they are entitled to a pension whether they are working or not. Their pension will amount to just over NIS 2,500 a month if they have worked all or most of their lives.”
It should have continued: “In case only one of the partners is working and is entitled to an old age pension for a couple, he or she will not be able to receive a pension till the age of 70 if the husband is the breadwinner, or 67 if the wife is the breadwinner, if he or she is making NIS 5,824 a month or more.”