No change at all
Denis McDonough, US President Barack Obama’s White House chief of staff, told the annual conference of J Street: “An occupation that has lasted almost 50 years must end, and the Palestinian people must have the right to live in and govern themselves in their own sovereign state” (“US wants to see Israeli commitment to two states matched by actions,” March 24).
The steps of chicanery that Palestinian leaders have used to deceive the world into believing that they have modified their charters are a perfect example of their perfidy in adhering to agreements. Not one word in their charters has ever been changed. Fatah has a live constitution, and Hamas has a live charter, both of which call for the destruction of Israel.See the latest opinion pieces on our Opinion & Blogs Facebook page
Any study of Palestinian leaders’ utterances after the signing of the Oslo Accords clearly dictates that they have not changed their minds about destroying Israel. If Israel were to sign a peace agreement with them in the atmosphere of today, it would be a repeat of the 1919 Treaty of Versailles, with the consequence being its destruction.
WILLIAM K. LANGFAN Palm Beach, FloridaHe says so
With regard to “Different Jewries” (Editorial, March 24), attend an American Reform or Conservative synagogue when there is not a bar or bat mitzva and the large prayer hall is virtually empty. More accurately stated, Reform and Conservative rabbis represent empty prayer halls hoping to book a mitzva party.
I don’t think they represent American Jewry. Any thinking and reading American Jew knows what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meant about a Palestinian state during his tenure, and about Arab voters.
That Jew is also well aware of the background to the malicious and extreme interpretation that President Barack Obama concocted to formulate an attack on the prime minister.
Honest and thinking American Jews who voted for Obama have to be appalled. Unless still blinded, they are keenly aware that their president has shown himself to be an extremist who now needs to create gross political interpretations and claim them as irrevocably true, just because he says so.
DARYL TEMKIN Los Angeles
While I am diametrically opposed to David Newman’s political views, I am absolutely in agreement with the socio-economic beliefs he expresses in “Social and economic responsibility starts at home” (Borderline Views, March 24). However, his assertion that since most of the world’s major democracies no longer give citizens a day off for elections, and therefore neither should we, left me more than annoyed.
In all of Newman’s thoughtful consideration for the average citizen, I unfortunately missed any concern for the fact that most working stiffs like me put in long hours with low pay and receive little time off. I guess the salary and paid leave that he enjoys leaves little time for such concern.
YISRAEL GUTTMAN Jerusalem
As a registered Democrat, I am upset with President Barack Obama’s reaction to the Israeli elections.
He telephoned Israel’s newly reelected prime minister to congratulate him only several days after the election. During the call, the president said he might reassess US policy with Israel (“J’lem: US ‘reassessment’ threat aims to distract attention from nuke deal,” March 22).
I think Benjamin Netanyahu pointed out that whenever Israel withdraws for peace, such as from Gaza, the Palestinians end up using those areas as launch pads to fire missiles at Israeli cities.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas supports the families of terrorists who killed Israeli civilians, and wants to take Israel to court because it dares to defend its people.
I don’t recall Obama reassessing policy with the Palestinians as a result. In the meantime, while being tough with a longtime ally facing relentless terror, he seeks to reach an agreement with Iran under which, after 10 years, the Iranians might be free to pursue nuclear weapons.
BEN KLEIN New YorkBaskin’s views
In “A cautious peace, but peace nevertheless” (Encountering Peace, March 19), Gershon Baskin says a future agreement with the Palestinians must have “fail-safe mechanisms to insure maximum implementation of treaty obligations by both sides.”
What does that mean? Failsafe is an engineering term that means a device will not endanger lives or property when it fails. In other words, if it fails, it will fail safely.
Now, what could be the possible application of this term to a peace treaty between mutually hostile and, as Baskin points out, untrusting parties? Can we imagine an Israeli-Palestinian agreement that meets this requirement? Let’s examine the central parameter –demilitarization.
We suppose that a future Palestinian state will have an airport and that restrictions on what can be imported are guaranteed by, as Baskin suggests, “joint command and control.”
Suppose that one day, the Israeli inspectors come to work at the airport and find their way barred, and on the same day aircraft begin arriving with heavy weapons prohibited under the treaty.
The Israelis will, as Baskin suggests, complain to a trusted third party, the Americans, who reprimand the Palestinians sternly, but to no avail. The Palestinians have simply abrogated the treaty, as any sovereign nation has a right to do. Are the Americans going to send in troops to forcibly disarm the Palestinians, and take casualties in the process? Is any third party going to do that? The concept of “fail-safe” might work for engineers, but it has no relevance to the decisions we Israelis are facing. Why doesn’t Baskin realize this? LAURIN LEWIS Jerusalem Gershon Baskin frames his column by putting forth, as if they were reasonable and justified, future policies and possible actions – straight off the streets of Ramallah to the corridors of the United Nations, the White House and the European Union, all grim from an Israeli perspective.
At the end is an unusual biographical description of Baskin as “a loyal citizen of the State of Israel, who loves his country....and [who] will never stop working for peace between Israel and its neighbors.”
Why, I wonder, does he need a character reference? Of what exactly is he accused, and by whom? His piece is a rejection of the Zionist vision of Israel being an expression of the will of the Jewish nation within the context of Jewish history. If he is not disloyal, why the protest? JOANNE JACKSON YELENIK DANIEL YELENIK Beit Shemesh Gershon Baskin essentially writes: Good morning, Israel, this is what you voted for and this is what you will get.
While I disagree with his doomsday analysis, I completely agree that we deserve whatever we get. After all, we voted for it.
By simply extending that logic, the Palestinians of Gaza voted for Hamas, electing a terrorist organization that longs for armed conflict in order to destroy Israel. Certainly they had no illusions about Israel fighting back. Yet they chose Hamas, so when rockets are launched into our cities from Gaza and we retaliate, they, too, are getting exactly what they voted for – and deserve.
Good morning, Gershon.
MOSHE SCHECTER Jerusalem CORRECTION
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews has flown Ukrainian Jews to Israel on three occasions, and not as stated in “For Ukrainians outside the war zone, life must go on” (Reporter’s Notebook, March 25)