Sir, – Unfortunately, Gershon Baskin (“Negotiating Jerusalem, negotiating peace,” Encountering Peace, August 15) once again exhibits how he and other peace seekers have learned nothing from all the attempts made by other peace advocates.
In his three points on how to achieve “real personal security” he suggests “very robust and active cooperation, including joint forces between the Israeli and Palestinian security and police forces,” each of which individually takes “full responsibility for security, law and order within the territory under its own domain.”
Well, to put this in a nutshell, we’ve been there and done that.
It was one of the first “peace” actions of the now-defunct Oslo Accords – within a very short period, Palestinian forces shot and killed Israeli comrades-inarms, so that brilliant idea was soon shelved.
As for Jerusalem remaining “an open city united for all to come and visit,” isn’t that what the city became after Israeli forces liberated the eastern, Jordanian-occupied half, and (in case Baskin hasn’t noticed) still is today? Any solution based on Baskin’s advice would only return us to the days of two Jerusalems, with the other side’s armed forces shooting to kill pedestrians in the western part, and Palestinian terrorism again stalking the city’s Jewish residents.
It’s a shame Baskin continues plying the defunct left-wing pie in the sky of how to reach peace, when all previous attempts by Israelis have come to a blood-filled naught.
Ono Dangers of steroids
Sir, – US Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly warned that Israel could face an international deligitimization campaign “on steroids” if the peace talks fail. The Palestinians must be licking their lips in anticipation.
One wonders if there is now any benefit at all to the Palestinians for engaging in peace talks? If there is, perhaps Kerry could remind them. Otherwise, we have nothing to look forward to and we should plan appropriately.
Sir, – I read of Mr. Kerry’s warning that a failure of the current negotiations with the Palestinians would further delegitimize Israel. I now don’t see how the talks can succeed. The secretary of state basically told the Palestinians to refuse any offer!
Sir, – Thank you, US Secretary of State John Kerry, for revealing in advance what Israel’s choice will be should the current negotiations with the Palestinians fail.
Apparently, we must be prepared to commit suicide by accepting a boundary that one of Kerry’s predecessors, Henry Kissinger, once characterized as “a strategic nightmare,” or face the threat of increased delegitimization.
Confronted with such a Hobson’s choice, what would any sane person prefer? DAVID ROTHNER
A lengthy fall
Sir, – The leaders of our nation have decided that the release of Arab murderers will advance the peace process (“Talks renewed against backdrop of prisoner release,” August 14). The immorality of such an act has been overruled by an abstract political concept in which most Israelis have no faith.
In the Torah portion of the Shabbat before last, we read about the procedure to be taken in the case of an unidentified corpse being found outside the city boundaries. One part of the procedure calls for the city leaders to proclaim, “Our hands have not spilled this blood.”
These leaders were never under suspicion. The Talmud Yerushalmi explains their intent as being that in their past governing of the city they had never released a proven murderer who now might have acted again.
They continue: “Do not place innocent blood in the midst of Your people Israel.” These leaders equate the release of murderers with an act of murder.
How far our leaders have fallen!
No excuses, please Sir, – I read with sadness Leah Bieler’s “Why I (still) haven’t made aliya” (Comment & Features, August 15). Not sadness for what she wrote, but sadness for her inability to appreciate the miracle that is the State of Israel.
To be caught up in all sorts of cliches like having to forgo Trader Joe’s or Ziploc bags and crisp, snow-covered mornings is unfathomable. Violence and bullying between kids seems also to be an insurmountable burden, as if these things don’t occur elsewhere.
In her litany of complaints, though, Bieler lets slip what’s really bothering her: “Our children would have to go into the army. With four children, that would mean many years spent with our hearts stuck perpetually in our throats.”
All of us, olim and native-born Israelis, live with our hearts in our throats when our children are sent to the army. But somehow we appreciate and understand that Jews for the first time in millennia have their own independent country and an army that has brought home millions of people from the four corners of the world in fulfillment of biblical prophecies; that Israel has turned into the greatest center of Torah learning ever; that our ancient tongue has been revitalized; and that we are a world hi-tech power.
Those of us who have thrown in our lot with Israel by moving here live highly gratifying and meaningful lives.
Jewish History as far back as the Bible teaches that the thoughts expressed by Bieler have always had currency among Jews. I can only weep for someone who, although apparently highly educated Jewishly, has chosen to throw in her lot with those who historically have criticized Israel rather than praise her.
Sir, – I wish to extend my compliments to Yuval Brandstetter and your editors for the superb piece on historic and contemporary dhimmitude (“The good father,” Comment & Features, August 14).
For any reader having doubts about the history and facts listed, there is a wealth of detailed information in a large body of work by the historian who writes under the pen name Bat Ye’or.
The many volumes are available in French, English and other languages.
The history of degradation has been effectively hidden by the very forces that implement the religiously decreed and lowly status, as well as by their many fellow travelers in the West.
A Shahar fan
Sir, – It’s been a long time since I read such an honest, fair article about sports in Israel as Allon Sinai’s “Happier off the court, Pe’er back to making Israel happy on it” (Sports, August 14).
All we Israelis seem to want or care about is that our sportsmen and women win. Very little attention is given to their difficulties on the way to the top, to fame and fortune (maybe). And it’s usually the people who participate the least in sports, who lie back in their armchairs, raising their voice the loudest.
I am proud of Shahar Pe’er. I am proud of a person who spends as much time as she does on the tennis court come rain or shine. I am proud of the way she fights back, practices hard and does not give up when things don’t go her way.
It can’t be easy for her to read the negative reports in the newspaper or see them on television.
Journalists out there – how about giving our sportsmen and women a bit of encouragement even when they don’t win? Go for it, Shahar. I, for one, am rooting for you!