Sir, – It is very disappointing that Yesh Atid and Bayit Yehudi are politically supporting and even pushing for their so-called “unity candidate” Aliza Bloch to run against the incumbent mayor Moshe Abutbol (“Political parties unite to topple Shas in Beit Shemesh,” June 27).

Yesh Atid MK Dov Lipman, who is also a local Beit Shemesh community activist, knows better than anyone how important it is for Abutbol to be relieved of his position as mayor, which has brought strife, disharmony and feelings of resentment by many Beit Shemesh residents. Lipman also knows how important it is not to split the vote and enable Abutbol to again win by default.

As the article pointed out, the present frontrunner among the opposition candidates is Eli Cohen, someone with a very distinguished professional career in public service behind him, both for Beit Shemesh and for the Jewish people. He is a warm, caring human being looking to unite all of the different kinds of people in Beit Shemesh. He is not a politician and turned down other offers to run for mayor in the past, but he now sees how critical it is for Beit Shemesh to become a unified peaceful and thriving city.

Lipman, Yesh Atid, Bayit Yehudi, Likud and Hatnua: Why risk splitting the vote, ensuring Abutbol a surefire reelection when Cohen is a shoe-in if we just all get behind him? Please forget egos and political competitiveness.

Remember what Beit Shemesh needs: a strong, caring person who already is ahead in the polls to take care of us.

BARBARA BROWN
Beit Shemesh

Scot-free

Sir, – Your editorial (“Father Nadaf,” June 27) and recent news reports show that we Jews are indeed “a peculiar people.”

On the one hand, we allow Arab MKs to deliver poisonous (even treasonable) diatribes against the State of Israel from the Knesset podium, and to intimidate Arabic-speaking Israeli Christians who wish to be an integral part of our society (“Arab MKs call for dismissal of priest for encouraging national service in his community,” June 26).

On the other hand, we do little or nothing to support and encourage our friends, whether they be Father Gabriel Nadaf in Nazareth or Philippe Karsenty in Paris. They and too many others are left to fight our battle on their own. What has happened to our Jewish pride and self-respect? Muhammad Barakei, Haneen Zoabi, Basel Ghattas and co.

must be having a good laugh at our expense. They know very well that their behavior would never be tolerated anywhere else and would condemn them to public execution in the Muslim world. Only in Israel can they get away with it scot-free.

GABRIEL A. SIVAN
Jerusalem


False claims

Sir, – In his op-ed, Gershon Baskin rehashes his worn out claim for peace (“Making decisions,” Encountering Peace, Comment and Features, June 27).

Baskin falsely claims that what simply needs to be done is for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and PA President Mahmoud Abbas to sign on the dotted line and everything will fall into place.

Baskin conveniently ignores the following: Abbas has no legal mandate from his people to be president; has no prime minister; refuses to pay his electric bill; does not tolerate any criticism from his own press; has no influence over Hamas; heads a corrupt government; supports terrorists and their families; and attacks and delegitimizes Israel at every opportunity.

Let us also not forget the Barak (2000) and Olmert (2008) proposals that Arafat and Abbas turned down.

This being the case, maybe Baskin can explain his unfounded optimism.

MATTIAS ROTENBERG
Petah Tikva

Sir, – Gershon Baskin is nothing if not consistent. Many times he postulates in various forms, sometimes seemingly sweetly and reasonably, that if Israel concedes to the Palestinian “demands” that peace will break out and we will all live happily together.

His latest contribution continues the same theme with a new twist, that in an agreement where Israel concedes to Palestinian demands, there will be in return, permission to retain control of the Western Wall, Jews will be allowed to live in a Palestinian state and best of all they will change their school textbooks.

What a scenario to contemplate.

1967 borders or even pre- 1967 borders are now predicated in every utterance by Mahmoud Abbas – who took his lead from US President Barack Obama – and there is a wide measure of acceptance of that idea around the world.

It is time Israel disabused everyone that the pre-1967 lines are a basis for peace. This needs to be stated loud and clear so that US Secretary of State John Kerry does not make promises to Abbas that he cannot keep.

IVOR LEWIS
Netanya

Sir, – In “Making decisions,” Gershon Baskin misstates facts fundamental to the Israeli/Palestinian dispute. He speaks of Israel’s “commitment under the road map” to freeze settlements.

Israel accepted the road map with specific reservations, promising only that it would “discuss” the issue of a settlement freeze and illegal outposts once the Palestinians combated terror, ended incitement and educated their people for peace.

Clearly, that discussion is not yet warranted. Israel also explicitly exempted development within existing communities from any future settlement freeze.

Baskin defines the “green line” as “the pre-June 5, 1967 border.”

Of course, the pre-1967 lines were not borders, but armistice lines with no permanent legal standing. Both sides understood that Israel’s final outline would be negotiated at some future time without regard to where the warring armies happened to stop in 1948.

Indeed, only recently have the Palestinians accepted the legitimacy of the State of Israel within any borders at all.

Baskin represents himself as an expert on peace negotiations over the past many years. Must we accept that he was unaware of the misleading nature of his most recent statements, or may we conclude that he made them knowingly in order to advance his own agenda?

EFRAIM A. COHEN
Zichron Ya’acov


Safety bid


Sir, – The US Senate passed legislation on June 19 in support of Taiwan’s bid to participate in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). A day earlier, the House of Representatives voted 424-0 in favor of the similar bid that directing the secretary of state to develop a plan for ensuring Taiwan’s observer status.

Currently, there are 191 member states of ICAO; its assembly will be convened in late September in Montreal. It is an optimal time to review Taiwan’s participation at this triennium. According to ICAO’s official document, aviation safety is at the core of ICAO’s fundamental objectives. It is constantly striving in close collaboration with the “entire” air transportation communities, to further aviation safety performance.

The word “entire” is not true.

Taiwan has been excluded for many years, even though more than 50 domestic and international airlines operate flights from Taiwan to 110 countries in the world and the annual number of passengers on international flights reached over 30 million.

How can we better safeguard the lives of passengers if Taiwan is not involved in ICAO? To be an observer, not a member, is a humble demand of the 23 million people living in Taiwan.

With US bipartisan resolutions in place, it’s time for ICAO’s assembly to make a favorable consideration for Taiwan’s application.

LIANG-JEN CHANG

The writer is the representative Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Tel Aviv

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