Doing it right

Sir, – In “Legal report on West Bank outposts recommends authorization” (July 9), on the adjudication of land disputes the reports says: “Pending such determination, state authorities should be instructed to avoid taking any positions in land conflicts and carrying out irreversible measures, such as eviction or demolition of buildings on the property.”

Exactly right. The law the Knesset recently discussed but ultimately failed to pass was one that gave Israelis the right to build on private Palestinian land.

This was a misguided attempt that focused on the wrong issue; it should have focused on the concept stated above.

In the cases of Beit El and Migron, the Supreme Court ordered evictions without determining land ownership. The justices merely accepted unproven statements by Palestinians and the NGOs that brought them.

This is one more glaring example of why we need to reform the court.

No one should be evicted from land whose ownership has not been fully adjudicated.

RANDI MELLMAN OZE
Jerusalem

Sir, – According to the committee looking into the legality of outposts, it was the Israeli government itself that put a freeze on building because of pressure from the United States and other countries.

Israel never would have declared itself a state in 1948 if it had listened to the US State Department and other nations, which already in 1948 were so concerned about Arab reactions.

The Palestinians are certainly not concerned about an American reaction if they go to UNESCO or the United Nations.

It is high time we were independent and able to make our own decisions, knowing what is good for this blessed land.

TOBY WILLIG
Jerusalem

Better this time

Sir, – I was pleased to read “Government approves plans to expedite aliya from Ethiopia” (July 9) and that the saga of this delayed homecoming is nearing its end. I only hope that the government has better plans for the new olim than it did for their predecessors.

Having worked in a small capacity over several years for a local charity that supplements food supplies to Ethiopian olim in Netanya, I have concluded that they were brought here and then dumped, as if they no longer existed. That is certainly the feeling one gets when visiting families in their homes.

In order for the rest of the aliya to be successful, places should be found for Ethiopian immigrants on kibbutzim, where they can use their agricultural skills, intensive education should be given to their children so they can integrate speedily, religious education should be gradual so they are not too quickly deprived of their age-long customs, and parents should be given as much education as possible so they will feel part of our society.

M. VEEDER
Netanya

Thin cover

Sir, – Your article about Maureen Lipman (“The Jewish actress who isn’t afraid to speak her mind,” Arts & Entertainment, July 9) was very much to the point as far as Israel being constantly singled out as a scapegoat for the ills of the world.

Although Lipman states that “people in England are only obsessed with the question of the Palestinians,” I believe the more relevant point is that people in all of Britain are using their obsession with the Palestinians as a thinly disguised cover for a latent and strongly growing anti-Semitism, particularly among the left-wing and the so-called chattering classes.

JEFFREY GILBERT
Jerusalem

Painfully funny

Sir, – I, too, believe in freedom of the press, but not when it involves stolen papers that can injure our IDF (“Uri Blau avoids prison over stolen IDF papers,” July 6).

For over 40 years I have had a child or grandchild in the army and cannot stand the thought that one of them could be harmed by Blau or Anat Kamm, the soldier who provided him with the stolen documents.

When I read that Blau will get four months of community service, I laughed with tears in my eyes.

Both Kamm and Blau said they did not intend to hurt anyone.

As the old saying goes, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions!”

ANNETTE UNGERLEIDER MARTIN

Kfar Shmaryahu

Cutting backwards

Sir, – I was rather surprised to read British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’s comments in “The Europeans’ skewed view of circumcision” (Observations, July 6).

Surely the learned rabbi is aware of the role of the executive in a democratic government.

His answer to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, “to reverse the decision of the Cologne court,” violates the authority of the executive with respect to the authority of an independent judiciary.

The correct answer is that her government should direct the parliament to enact a law that guarantees the civil rights of the individual to perform an act that does not interfere with any existing basic laws. This, by the way, questions the authority of the Cologne court to render its decision without stating the law in which the act of circumcision was declared illegal.

Additionally, Sacks’s position on multiculturalism overlooks the fact that America achieved its greatness precisely because it discarded the melting-pot approach in achieving an integrated society. This approach requires the acceptance of cultural activities that are by their nature not extremist or in conflict with any basic law.

ALBERT RETTIG
Tel Aviv

Sir, – Rabbi Jonathan Sacks compares a fight against child mutilation to modern anti-Semitism disguised as anti-Israelism.

Has he ever heard that there are real fights for human rights and child protection? He compares circumcision to raising children, as if choosing their school involves mutilation.

He seems to think that qualifications such as “ancient” and “holy” can override common sense and sensitivity. Ever heard of the ancient and holy practice of slaughtering children and burning them for the gods, or the circumcision of girls and women to make them better wives? His last and most important claim was that “a German court has just invented a new form of blood libel perfectly designed for the 21st century.” In this he lost all capacity to win over any minds.

It should be against the law for rabbis to talk politics! They are trained in honesty and logic.

They are often too naive and decent and don’t understand what really is going on.

MOSHE-MORDECHAI VAN ZUIDEN
Jerusalem

Sir, – Maybe if we explain some of the proven medical advantages of brit mila we would get more understanding and respect for our practice and be able to hold on to our beliefs as long as we do not impose them on others.

OLGA P. WIND
Holon

Not his intention

Sir, – Following my speech at Yad Vashem, as described in “Relative of Raoul Wallenberg likens Syrian human rights violations to W. Bank policies” (June 27), I realize that it sounded like I linked the situation in Syria to the situation in the West Bank.

That was not my intention and for that I am truly sorry.

I did not mean to make such a link and I understand that it must have been offensive. I am also aware of the complexity of the situation in the West Bank and the fact that there are shortcomings on both sides.

Since I am misquoted in the article, here is the exact quote from my speech: “We see human rights violations in Syria.

And being in Israel I feel obliged to mention the human rights violations on the West Bank.”

MICHAEL WERNSTEDT
Stockholm

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