1 interesting difference between a bus and a car is that when people reach their bus stop they get off, in a car the person cannot just get out and continue.

June 11, 2014 21:48

Letters 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

No dispute there
Sir, – Your well-argued editorial calling to redefine Judea and Samaria as “disputed” rather than “occupied” territory (“Aussie clarity,” June 11) is to be commended.

However, your suggestion that this territory is “land that has never been unequivocally set aside for a specific people by the international community” is historically incorrect.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

The League of Nations, in its 1922 Mandate for Palestine, recognizing “the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine” and “the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country,” granted Britain a mandate over Palestine pending the establishment there of such a national home. The mandatory power was explicitly charged, under the terms of the mandate, with the duty “to encourage close settlement by Jews on the land” (Article 6).

Of critical importance, too, is the fact that under Article 80 of the United Nations Charter, these provisions remain valid to this day.


Sir, – There is no need to claim that the current status of Judea and Samaria under international law is unique as justification for the fact that it is not “occupied.” More to the point, there is absolutely no authority in international law for the proposition that Jewish settlement there is illegal.

There are plenty of precedents for what happens when new countries emerge from old ones or from colonial empires; they equally apply to what happened to formerly mandated land, as Palestine was until 1948. The doctrine has a Latin name, uti possidetis iuris (as you possess under law), which states that the last official internationally recognized borders continue to apply. This doctrine has been recognized as a basic principle of international law by the International Court of Justice.

Until Israel unilaterally vacated Gaza, the last internationally recognized boundaries were those of the British mandate, authorized by the League of Nations. But absolutely nothing has happened that would change things for the West Bank, as Jordan’s claim to the territory was never widely recognized.

Politically, other countries and people may think the status quo undesirable or unjust, but those sentiments are utterly irrelevant to the territory’s legal status.


Getting the message

Sir, – Judy Montagu’s “Fall of the mighty” (In My Own Write, June 11) was a very good column.

The level and extent of corruption in Israel’s governmental, business and religious institutions has now morphed into a true plague and is becoming a very major embarrassment to Jews everywhere, including the Diaspora.

The principal reason for the extent of corruption in Israel is the “revolving door” system that allows former government or military officials to leverage their contacts into lucrative business appointments. It would be easy to close this loophole by changing the law to impose an extended waiting period for such transitions.

Another remedy would be the establishment of a special prosecutor to investigate and try these crimes on a full-time basis.

The people involved in corruption are only doing what has become commonly acceptable for decades, knowing their behavior will simply be overlooked by the public and the legal system. But one man, Judge David Rozen, decided to act, and sentenced a former prime minister to a term of six years in prison for such activity (and more recently forbade him from leaving the country prior to his incarceration).

All it takes is one person to stand up and say “enough.” The country is getting the message.

MITCHELL RADOV, Ashdot Ya’acov

Bus vs. car
Sir, – Sharon Udasin writes about a report on the shortcomings of public transportation (“‘Public transport failing to meet passenger needs’ – NGO,” June 6). The report is a comparison between buses and cars, as well as the time it takes to get from point A to point B. This is a fair comparison in some respects.

But one interesting difference between a bus and a car is that when people reach their proper bus stop they get off the bus and continue to the store, office or wherever. In a car the person reaches the same stop (or corner) but cannot just get out and continue.

Someone forgot to take into consideration that the car can't continue moving (as the bus does).

The NGO must have forgotten about something called “parking.”

Maybe the proper comparison would be a bus and a taxi.

By the way, all the other complaints about the public bus system are very legitimate.

AHARON GOLDBERG, Hatzor Haglilit

Should be in Zion
Sir, – “We never forgot Jerusalem” by Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks (Observations, June 6) is undoubtedly an eloquent paean to the Jewish people’s undying connection to the holy city.

His moving descriptions of Jerusalem’s centrality throughout Jewish history would be infinitely more convincing if he were to translate his longing and love for Jerusalem by actually living there. Just imagine what an example his immigration would be to his numerous followers in the UK and in the Jewish world at large.

His work as a “Guardian of Zion” would be more meaningful if it were to emanate from Zion.


Evolving debate
Sir, – Regarding the teaching of evolution in Israeli middle schools (“Middle-school pupils to learn evolutionary theory,” June 2) and the resulting letters, there is much confusion about what can properly be included in evolutionary science and what cannot.

That species evolved slowly over time from previous life forms belongs to the category of a scientific statement, so it can be included in evolutionary science.

That species have developed by chance can also be a scientific statement, but only if it means to say that the process of evolution does not follow any natural laws or predictable stages.

The statement that the evolution of species is totally by chance – that is, there is no direction or cause even beyond natural laws and predictability – is not a scientific statement. It goes beyond science to make a claim about the non-natural, and cannot be substantiated by scientific investigation.

Theologically there need be no clash between evolutionary science, properly minding its business, and the idea that evolution has divinely-caused direction and processes. Whether one is willing to give up the six-day scenario is another matter.

The writer is an emeritus professor of philosophy at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Sir, – Reader Lee Spetner (“Teaching evolution, Letters, June 10) states: “For natural selection to account for common descent... it must describe how the information in living creatures can be built up.”

Evolutionary trees relating organisms over time can in fact be built up exclusively from the sequence of bases in their DNA or amino acids in their proteins. No other information is required.

This represents a confirmation and a further modern extension of Darwin’s theory of evolution.

His comment that “the theory cannot do this and hence is not valid scientifically” is also inaccurate.

Regarding reader Yehuda Gellman’s statements above, he fails to define what he means exactly by the difference between “chance” and “natural.”

According to the “Occam’s razor” principle, we are required to take the simplest explanation that satisfactorily explains the facts, and that is the one that is based on natural selection as opposed to some hypothetical external/divine intervention.

Whether one considers “natural” to represent a purely random or partially non-random process is a secondary issue.

The writer is a retired professor of pharmacology, biochemistry and molecular biology. He began the debate in these pages with a letter of his own (“Evolution in schools,” June 6)

Related Content

Cast member Chadwick Boseman poses at the premiere of
March 23, 2018
Israel reflects Jewish version of Black Panther's Killmonger's vision


Israel Weather
  • 9 - 23
    Beer Sheva
    13 - 21
    Tel Aviv - Yafo
  • 9 - 18
    13 - 20
  • 16 - 29
    12 - 23