Sir, – Prime Minister Netanyahu, addressing the Arabs from the
Knesset, says: “These compromises are painful, because we are talking about
parts of our homeland...the land of our forefathers...and not
just security interests” (“PM says Israel may give up settlements not in major
blocs,” (May 17).
Do he and his advisers really think this approach
presses the Arabs’ emotional buttons? This approach telegraphs the message that
the Arabs are not far from their goals.
The Jew will cough up whatever is
asked for, but sweetening a deal with a promise of more candy doesn’t talk to
Fear of future pain (i.e., loss of land, loss of liberty, loss
of water, higher taxes) does.
Peace? Forget about peace.
cannot make peace with infidels.CHAYIM SEIDEN
Tax transfers to
Sir, – Regarding “Israel again threatens to withhold tax transfers to PA
government that includes an unrepentant Hamas” (May 17), Finance Minister Yuval
Steinitz once said he would only allow the transfer after receiving guarantees
that the money would not reach Hamas.
Do our leaders think we are naïve
and ignorant about financial matters? Hasn’t Steinitz heard that money is
fungible – that is, by giving this money to the Palestinians it will free up
other money for Hamas? Can you imagine that our government has caved in once
again to pressure from the international community without getting anything in
return? What will happen when the real pressure comes? Do we not have any
leaders with the backbone to stand up to at least minor pressure? What is the
point of making threats if we never carry them out? It seems the only ones the
government carries out are against its own people. Shame.VEL WERBLOWSKY
Sir, – Perhaps the most recent event of gravest consequence for the
State of Israel has been the declared reconciliation and union of Fatah and the
terrorist Hamas gang of Gaza.
Among several appropriate measures for
Israel to undertake in order to frustrate this perilous union, the withholding
of tax money seems to be the most effective without cost in lives or property.
Other measures, like targeted assassinations or cutting the electricity supply
to Gaza, while all worthy, would undoubtedly invite more extensive world
condemnation and involve Israel in an international imbroglio.
citizens of Israel have the right to know what ugly pressures were brought by
so-called friends (or enemies) in order to force our retreat and the abandonment
of this most sensible measure.ZEV CHAMUDOT
Sir, – The
Schalit family is 100 percent right to be enraged, just as I am, about the
government decision to transfer previously withheld tax funds to the
Doubtless, the decision to pay resulted from pressure by the EU. In
that case, the French government needs to be reminded that Gilad Schalit is not
just Israeli; he is also a French citizen.
If the French government wants
to show its commitment to having him released, it surely must understand that if
Hamas wants to show a sign it has reformed, the first thing it must do is have
Schalit released immediately, without any conditions or even a prisoner
Shame on Finance Minister Steinitz, Prime Minister Netanyahu,
French President Sarkozy and EU Middle East coordinator Ashton for this sordid
Jerusalem Give kids a break
Sir, – Regarding
“Religion, politics...and homework,” Comment & Features, May 17), I
have attended Richard Curwin’s lectures at English Teachers’ Association of
Israel summer conventions and have thoroughly enjoyed them. I would, however,
ask him to create a guideline for teachers as well.
My first item on the
list would direct teachers not to give homework to students during vacations.
The students do not enjoy their time off because of the pressure to do the work,
and often do the work the night before school resumes, producing inferior
So teachers, please, give the kids a break! They also deserve a
The writer is a teacher Over before
Sir, – Saeb Erekat asks: “Do we have a partner to make peace in
Israel?” He then answers: “We don’t. I believe negotiations between Israelis and
Palestinians are over” (“Erekat: We have no Israeli partner for peace,” May
He goes on to state that those who “recognize the state of Palestine
on the 1967 lines are those who are advocating the two state solution.” However,
neither Erekat nor his boss, PA President Mahmoud Abbas, accept the pre-Six Day
War border as the border of the State of Israel, as they both insist on a return
of refugees and their descendants to what was Israel before the 1967
Since this has been their position from the beginning, the
negotiations were actually over before they ever began.BARRY LYNN
Sir, – In “Breach of border with Syria unprecedented violation of
Israeli sovereignty, says expert” (May 16), Ron Friedman quotes Prof. Asa Kasher
as saying “The laws of war are not the appropriate framework for judging the
events in the North.”
His example of Mexico and the US is not proper.
Mexico is not at war with the US, and illegal border crossings are not for
political or security reasons, but for personal economic benefit.
crossings from Syria to Israel are for security and military reasons. The laws
of war do apply. Syria is in a state of war with Israel. When the infiltrators
came over, Israel did not know if they were armed or were shields for armed
The Syrian infiltrators could also have been soldiers dressed as
Syria is not exactly a place where there is freedom of
movement, so a large group of people moving in one direction must have been
known, if not supported, by the Syrian authorities.
The only initial
assumption for Israel could be that these infiltrators had some sort of backing
from Damascus.AHARON GOLDBERG
Hatzor Haglilit Sibling matters
Sir, – The
article “Obama’s Jewish half-brother tells Metzger he’ll appeal for Pollard”
(May 12) stated incorrectly that a discussion about Jonathan Pollard took place
in a private meeting between Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger and Mark Obama
Ndesandjo, a US citizen, was visiting Israel as my
I personally attended, from start to finish, the meeting that is
the subject of Gil Hoffman’s article and can tell your readers categorically in
the strongest possible terms that it focused exclusively on Ndesandjo. Nothing
political was discussed. Jonathan Pollard never came up.
representative of the Israeli or world press was present during or after the
meeting, and no press interviews were granted to anyone by Ndesandjo or me in
Israel or subsequently. The press spokesman of the Chief Rabbi’s office, Avi
Blumenthal, who was cited in the article, was not present at the meeting, nor
did any of our party meet him or speak with him before or
afterward.NORMAN C. KAPLAN
Sir, – We understand Mark
Obama Ndesandjo’s position and regret the fact that even after 26 years of
Jonathan Pollard’s imprisonment, there are still some asking to sabotage the
efforts to release him by putting pressure on those wishing to help his
The writer is spokesman for Chief Rabbi