Coming to terms
Sir, – So there is a new peace initiative and we are supposed to
be excited (“Israel, PA give nod to Arab League endorsement of ‘minor’ land
swaps,” May 1). But we have heard it all before.
Peace with the
Palestinians is not about settlements, not about Jerusalem and not about right
of return or any of the other countless pretexts. Peace is about the fundamental
perception of Islam that there is no room for a Jewish state in Palestine and
Israel must be destroyed.
Islam must come to terms with the fact that
Israel is here to stay and it is much better and more rewarding to live in peace
with it than in war.
This acceptance and change of attitude must be
proclaimed far and wide, and be reflected in sermons in the mosques. When this
happens, peace with the Palestinians will come as a matter of course. But not
Sir, – Many of the arguments Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu advanced in his book A Place among the Nations are
as valid today as they were at the time of the book’s release. Let him recall
them, in particular the fact that the Mandate for Palestine was a legal document
that cannot be superseded by UN resolutions, which are not considered
instruments of international law.
Let him also remind the parties that
Israel has given peace a chance on numerous occasions, only to be greeted by
terrorism, rejection and delegitimization.
Let him rationalize, too, that
as he believes the Arabs cannot accept the very existence of Israel, the only
viable solution cannot lie in the creation of yet another Arab state.
Arab nations, which created the problem in the first place and are now making
proposals for its resolution, should participate in the removal of UNWRA
facilities and in voluntary efforts at relocating Palestinian Arabs within their
They should also engage in a massive education plan
directed at overcoming the hatred of Jews. This is clearly the only way that
peace will prevail.ALEX ROSE
Sir, – If I didn’t know otherwise,
I would have thought your May 1 paper was the Purim edition.
uppermost articles on the front page, “Israel, PA give nod to Arab League
endorsement of ‘minor’ land swaps” and “Father of five stabbed to death in
terrorist attack at Tapuah Junction,” clash with one another.
How can the
US, the UN and the Arab nations talk about peace while there is a contradiction
of facts on the ground? The prime minister, by pretending that he is dealing
with a friendly neighbor, is encouraging nations that seek to deny the root of
the problem – the refusal of the Palestinians to accept the Jewish state and
their spreading of hate messages among their people, both in the media and in
We have to get to the root of the problem before we discuss any
other conditions for peace.
The prime minister should take the
lead.YOCHEVED MIRIAM ZEMEL
Jerusalem Peace referendum
Sir, – With regard
to”Holding a referendum” (Editorial, May 1), there is discussion in the UK as to
a possible referendum on its continued membership in the European Community. If
instituted it would be the second time a referendum has taken place there – and
on the same question.
The previous referendum was held in 1975, and I was
a regional chairman of the national body arguing for a “yes” vote (i.e., to
remain a member of the EU). I am therefore writing with both practical political
experience and an understanding of the principles of national
It is not, in my view, correct to argue, as referred to in
your editorial, that a national referendum removes the authority of the
government. It would under law be constituted by and held under rules laid down
by the government at its own request.
In this respect both Justice
Minister Tzipi Livni and Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman are wrong. And
Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich shows a complete lack of understanding of
Sir, – For Labor Party chairwoman
Shelly Yacimovich to say that the concept of a referendum is inherently
undemocratic is quite ludicrous.
The stability, general lack of violence
and rarity of worker strikes in Switzerland, the oldest democracy in Europe, is
generally credited to the availability of the referendum. It serves as an outlet
for frustrations by ensuring that the will of the people can always be taken
Still more objectionable is the comment by Justice
Minister Tzipi Livni that a referendum weakens the government’s authority by
transferring the decision-making process to the people. This bespeaks an
elitism, if not arrogance, toward the people that contradicts what actually
legitimizes the referendum concept, namely that the government is elected to
carry out the will of the people, which is referred to as the
This sovereignty is trusted to have common sense and
political maturity that can ultimately be relied upon.
In an inherently
sophisticated and literate population, this confidence is all the more
It is precisely with regard to critical decisions, such as
those related to a two-state peace agreement, that the government needs to be
confident that it is reflecting the will of a majority of the
Sir, – No one seems to remember
Golda Meir’s reaction to “revolutionary” thoughts in the Labor Party of the
1960s, when a few members had the temerity to suggest holding primaries for the
party list. Golda poured cold water over this “ridiculous” idea of letting the
people decide something that was clearly the party leader’s job.
years later, Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich cannot accept the people’s right to
vote in a referendum on vital issues that effect us all. Switzerland, England
and other European countries have held referendums, with no ill-effect on their
In Israel, only the party hacks have a say as to what will
happen in our lives, and we can’t even elect them directly! TAMAR GINAT Neveh
Sir, – Justice Minister Tzipi Livni presents a number of
sophistic arguments for depending only on the Knesset for making decisions on
peace (“Livni: Anyone who wants peace must oppose citizens’ referendum,” April
I would like to remind her that we control the territories because
Israel was attacked from there. To relinquish them, wholly or in part, without a
peace treaty would only assure our enemies that they have nothing to lose and
everything to gain.
Livni believes that democracy is served best by the
government and Knesset making such decisions.
Yet the article keenly
recalls how such decisions are not always based on altruistic motives. She also
belittles the importance of the “ramifications that could come from evacuating
people from their homes” and the ramifications this consideration would have on
a direct popular vote. Perhaps the public’s degree of concern for such impacts
is of prime importance? The disengagement from Gaza, even after Ariel Sharon’s
party rejected the plan in its own referendum, is a notable example of the
effect of disregarding the will of the people.TUVIA MUSKIN
The news story “Health minister to decide whether to fire Meuhedet
director-general” (April 12), which implied that then-deputy health minister
Ya’acov Litzman had retained health fund chairman Rabbi Yerahmiel Boyer due to
close personal connections, was based on erroneous information. The Jerusalem
Post apologizes for the error.