Talk directly to us
Sir, – With regard to “MKs, Palestinians tell two sides to Ramallah meeting” (April 17), instead of just talking with five MKs in Ramallah about being “against violence,” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas should address all Israelis directly.
He should try to convince us that if there is going to be a sovereign Palestinian state, it will not be an enemy of Israel and would not be a base from which to try to destroy Israel, the way Gaza did.
Abbas should try to convince us that the PA has dropped its ideological struggle against the existence of a sovereign non-Arab, Jewish state here; that a peace treaty with Israel would end the Arab world’s century-old conflict with the Jews; and that there would no longer be any attempts to take back the Land of Israel.
He should acknowledge that Israel is a democratic state in which minority rights are protected, including the rights of Arab citizens, and that Muslim religious sites such as al-Aksa and the Dome of the Rock – which he should acknowledge are also the site of the ancient Jewish temples – are safe. He should try to convince us that a sovereign Palestinian state would strive to create normal, peaceful relations with Israel and preserve the Jewish religious sites under its control, granting reasonable access to Jews. And he should affirm the PA’s intention to prepare its people for peace.
Abbas should also honestly acknowledge the popular strength of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other radical Salafist groups among the Palestinians. He should tell us how he intends to deal with them so that after a sovereign state is formed, his government won’t be pushed aside and the power inherent in sovereignty transferred to entities that disavow his promises.
If he can persuade us that a sovereign Palestinian state will not be an unacceptable threat to us, I am sure he will get sufficient support from the Israeli public to form that state. If he cannot or is unwilling to, then given the explosion of Islamist extremism presently inflaming the entire Arab world, it is reasonable for us to suspect that the Arabs of Palestine are not all that different from Arabs everywhere else and the threat of an Islamist takeover here is very real.
Own up, Holland
Sir, – Regarding your report on the outrageous real estate taxation that the city of Amsterdam imposed on Jewish property after its owners were deported to concentration camps or went into in hiding (“Study: Amsterdam taxed Holocaust survivors unjustly,” April 17), many of the houses in question were used by Nazi officials and collaborators.
It must be recalled that a significant number of Dutch citizens betrayed their Jewish compatriots.
The Nazis offered the populace cash rewards for identifying Jews in hiding. As the article mentions, of all the countries under Nazi domination, the percentage of the Jewish population that was murdered in the Holocaust was highest in Holland, at 75 percent.
The Dutch government is adding insult to injury at a time when it has yet to acknowledge the full role its predecessors played in the treatment of Jews during World War II.
Sir, – I am sure that I am not alone in decrying the Post’s decision to publish the picture of Hitler that accompanied the news article “Following pressure, France prevents auction of Hitler’s, Goering’s personal possessions” (April 16).
There oughta be a law forbidding the publication of pictures of evil tyrants who lived purely for the purpose of annihilating people. That would include Nazis, terrorists, KKK members and other like-minded people.
In light of the pre-Passover shooting murders in Kansas and on the road to Hebron, one never knows just how the sight of these killers in a newspaper will incite latent criminals to commit the same crimes. In the future, publish the articles without the ghastly pictures.
The Letters Editor responds: As of press time, this was the only reader’s comment received on the matter.
Her own freedom
Sir, – In “Passover – the feast of freedom” (Think About It, April 16), Susan Hattis Rolef wonders what freedom means to haredi women she defines as having “the almost total absence of personal choice.”
As a haredi woman by personal choice, with children in yeshiva and the IDF, I am celebrating this Passover the freedom to worship God by observing the Torah in the Land of Israel. As a woman who was raised in the women’s movement of the 1960s and 1970s, I feel empowered by the freedom granted to me by the Torah to express myself freely and on equal footing (different, but equal) with my male counterparts.
Sir, – The package our foreign minister was referring to in “Liberman: Package being discussed now with Palestinians not same as it was two weeks ago” (April 14) was having the US release Jonathan Pollard, having Israel release imprisoned Arab citizens plus another 400 prisoners “without blood on their hands,” having Israel restrain settlement construction and having the Palestinians commit to continue negotiations and refrain from applying for membership in various international forums.
It is hard to believe that a Jewish government in its own sovereign state could even think of accepting, let alone actually be in favor of, such a shameful and humiliating package. In fact, one could say it is Israel that is being packaged – lock, stock and barrel – for the sole reason of enabling our enemies to carry out their ultimate and much publicized goal. Hello Palestine, goodbye Israel.
Even so, Justice Minister and peace negotiator Tzipi Livni attacked Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett, who threatened to leave the government if the package was accepted. In “PM cancels meeting with ‘childish’ Bennett over threats he’ll quit” (April 14) you quote her as saying: “There are those in the government who aren’t interested in peace and would prevent us from having a diplomatic process” – as though everything had not already been tried and retried and re-retried, without success. “Surrendering to Bennett,” she continued, “is a victory for [the] Yitzhar [settlement] over Zionism.”
Yitzhar is Zionism.
Sir, – With regard to “Despite State Dept. frown, Israel to continue responding to PA unilateral moves” (April 13), it is unclear why Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is considered out of bounds in going to the United Nations.
The Palestinians should have been launched on their trajectory toward decolonization and statehood way back in 1922, when they were 95 percent of the people on their land. On fundamental talks like these we shouldn’t get into denial about fundamental truths, especially if we want to understand the Palestinians’ central narrative and motives that reflect these truths.
Now it is the Israelis who have a state on 80% of Palestine and occupy the rest of it. They have sent hundreds of thousands of settlers into that remnant and continue to expand settlements even during the negotiations. It is Israel (and its pre-state incarnation) that for nearly a century has had a crucial role in denying the Palestinians’ decolonization.
Why does it now get to decide whether they at last get this decolonization, and only on the small remnant of their original land? The Palestinians are trying for statehood through the UN in exactly the same, “unilateral” way Israel did.