Something’s wrong

Sir, – The photo on Page 8 of your January 11 edition (“‘Extreme weather’”) says it all.

Jews in Jerusalem make snowmen, yet Muslims use a site that they claim is sacred for the glorification of weapons of war.

Moshe Feiglin attempting to pray on the site holiest to the Jews is is a provocation, and this action isn’t? Something is wrong in the value system somewhere, methinks.

JONATHAN MARKS
Jerusalem

Bibiphobia

Sir, – With regard to “Netanyahu: The pathology” (Observations, January 11), all the well-intentioned suggestions for improving the way Israel is perceived around the world ignore one of our greatest public relations problems. I’m referring to Bibiphobia, which causes some of our best known political and security establishment figures to repeatedly throw the country under the bus for the satisfaction of trashing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

While the satisfaction they obviously derive from their unrestrained attacks can only be fleeting, the damage they do to Israel lasts forever.

NAOMI SANDLER
Jerusalem

Global bullies

Sir, – I agree with all Barry Shaw says in “European diplomacy in the service of our enemy” (Original Thinking, January 11) with one glaring exception.

Shaw states that EU diplomats “surely are not bent on Israel’s destruction.” But even a cursory glance at history, especially since the formation of the EU, should tell you that this is exactly what is in their minds.

An inherent hatred for both Israel and Jews is as apparent as an incurable illness, except that in the case of the latter it seems most Israelis believe such an illness could not exist. The EU’s solution would be for Israel to cease to exist, and anything its members could do to bring this about they will gleefully do.

It is partly Israel’s fault for continuously failing to realize this and allowing itself to be forever the bullied victim in the global playground.

I. KEMP
Nahariya

Sir, – Barry Shaw’s frighteningly accurate telling of the state of European diplomacy (and democracy) today is redolent of the same diplomacy 80 years ago when these countries were under attack, not from Islam but from Nazism. What Shaw missed, though, is what happened not only to European Jewry, but also to European democracy.

Throughout history, many democratically inclined nations encouraged Jewish survival and development. When these nations became infected with political failings, the panacea of looking at the Jews as the root of all evil was grasped exactly as we see today. It was not long before physical violence took hold and burgeoning democracy evanesced.

Take Scotland, where the devolved parliament, under a Scottish National Party majority, seeks a mandate for independence next year, and which allows the most virulent anti- Israel motions to be proposed daily.

Unless they take heed of Shaw’s warning, Western democracies and their Jews, as well as Jewish Israel, are doomed.

KALMAN BOOKMAN
Jerusalem/Glasgow

Onto something...

Sir, – In “A Palestinian-Jordanian confederation” (Savir’s Corner, January 11), Uri Savir claims – rightly so! – that a federation would make the solution to the Palestinian issue more palatable.

It would entail, in Savir’s words, “massive evacuation of settlers... and Jerusalem as a shared capital....”

This is the core of the problem.

Permit me to propose a solution.

Settlements: It has been suggested that some settlements located inside Palestinian territory might remain as Jewish communities in the State of Palestine, as a parallel arrangement to the Arab communities inside Israel. Palestine would have a Jewish minority, similar to Israel’s 20 percent Arab minority.

Settlers: They would have the option of remaining as law-abiding Palestinian citizens, voting either for the Palestinian parliament or retaining their Israeli nationality and voting for the Knesset. Those who object would be welcome to return home at their own discretion.

The option of remaining would eliminate charges of deportation.

Israel’s Arab citizens should be offered a similar choice – of becoming Palestinian nationals and voting for the Palestinian parliament.

Jerusalem should remain a united city, open to all, and become the capital of Israel and Palestine. That is, it should be transformed into an international enclave under an international regime. This would match Herzl’s vision of an “ex-territorial Jerusalem” (see: The Diaries of Theodor Herzl, May 7, 1896).

In addition, our prime minister might launch a dramatic initiative to transfer the UN headquarters from New York to Jerusalem. This might appear presumptuous, but bearing in mind that Jerusalem is the center of three world religions and that such a step might put a final end to this conflict, the proposal could eventually appear realistic. It would also have far-reaching implications for the security and economy of Jerusalem.

Far-fetched fantasies? Perhaps.

But after decades of national folly and in the absence of hope for a tranquil future here for our grandchildren, the time is ripe for new ideas.

ZEEV RAPHAEL
Haifa

...or off the wall?

Sir, – Uri Savir talks about mirages. Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett’s “ridiculous proposal to annex 60 percent of the West Bank to Israel” and “[Prime Minister] Binyamin Netanyahu’s efforts to do everything in his prime ministerial power to prevent a two-state solution through settlement expansion” are two examples.

Wasn’t Savir, the architect of the Oslo Accords, the one who gave us the mirage of peace? Furthermore, he talks about “democracy” and “the national rights” and “human rights” of Palestinians. What about the same rights for Jews to live anywhere in the Jewish homeland? My real concern, however, is about Netanyahu’s record of right-wing proposals and proclamations regarding settlement building prior to elections, and then not following through afterward in order to placate an American president.

IRA NOSENCHUK
Jerusalem

Sir, – “A Palestinian-Jordanian confederation” lost its relevance to me when Uri Savir completely ignored Hamas.

At the present time Egypt is doing its utmost to reconcile the differences between Fatah and Hamas so that they will be an acceptable partnership in the quest to establish a ministate between Israel and Jordan.

This mini-state could then be used by Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood to destroy both Jordan and Israel.

As long as Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood are not totally neutralized, the establishment of this mini-state should be opposed by anyone seeking peace in the Middle East. A two-state solution is not a viable solution for Israel at the present time, and a federation between Jordan and Palestine that includes Hamas is not a viable solution for either Israel or Jordan.

The right-wing parties are gathering strength in Israel for the simple reason that we are well aware of the danger posed by the Arab countries embracing the radical Muslim Brotherhood.

We must resist all efforts to have a peace treaty forced upon us and under no circumstance should we give up any territory for a Palestine state.

P. YONAH
Shoham

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