Syria conundrum

Sir, – There was a legendary sign on the desk in the Oval Office when Harry Truman was president of the United States. It said: The buck stops here.

It looks like President Barack Obama desperately needs to be reminded. To date, his inaction has disgraced the position of president.

Whoever took the sign away should put it back.

THELMA JACOBSON

Petah Tikva

Sir, – The solid justification for American action against Syria is the use of chemical weapons by the government against Syrian citizens. The result was the death some 1,500 innocent people.

Now the Russians are doing everything to destroy the credibility of this justification, saying the Assad regime never used such weapons, so an American attack would be unjustified and pure aggression. This line has been expressed not only by Russian diplomats, but by President Vladimir Putin himself.

Old habits never die. The Russians have gone back to the method they used with regard to their massacre of Polish officers at Katyn during World War II: Never admit, deny, deny; lie and lie until you die.

DAVID BARNER
Rishon Lezion

Sir, – President Obama has become a joke. The ayatollahs in Iran must be laughing their heads off.

For us in Israel, though, this is no laughing matter. Since neither the Europeans nor the US have the will to do anything, the time for Israel to act alone on Iran has come.

MLADEN ANDRIJASEVIC
Beersheba

Sir, – For all the hooha about Syria, no one seems to be paying attention to the one country that poses an existential threat to the entire Middle East and, thereafter, to the world. The elephant in the room is Iran, whose nuclear centrifuges are spinning ever faster and more efficiently.

The bloodthirsty assertions by Iranian leaders of wiping Israel off the map should still be echoing worldwide. Except they are not.

President Obama seems content to placate, appease and procrastinate. He concerns himself with possible guarded action against Syria, whose chemical weapons might be ghastly although Assad’s forces have already killed tens of thousands and caused more than a million people to flee.

Where is the logic? Or is this a case of a 21st-century king with no clothes?

MIKE DAVIDSON
Harrow on the Hill, UK

Sir, – Once, we thought that sending someone into space was a fantasy. But it materialized.

Once, we thought that sending someone to the moon was a fantasy.

But it materialized.

Here is my fantasy. Instead of missile batteries destroying incoming missiles in midair, let them be programmed to instruct the missiles to make a U-turn and return to the place from whence they came. That should stop all missiles, conventional or chemical, once and for all.

I believe our brilliant minds can do this.

MARY POPPER

Herzliya

Sir, – The United States has made it evident to everyone who follows the news that it is not an ally to be relied on.

Whatever Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu thought about the value of the US commitment to Israel, he now has to wake up from his dream. He must at this moment understand that he has to do what is really best for Israel and not think of what the United States wants. The US doesn’t know what is best for itself, let alone for another country.

President Obama is not able to do anything in the Middle East except state loudly that new housing is a threat to his dream.

We now know that he is playing blind man’s bluff.

The US stands exposed as a dandelion in the wind, and Israel must never again think that the Americans will really come to her assistance in a dangerous situation.

TOBY WILLIG
Jerusalem

Into a corner

Sir, – One reads with interest the latest views of Uri Savir, proving again that insulting the intelligence of Jerusalem Post readers can be an exercise of too many journeys into the world of fantasy land (“Jerusalem,” Savir’s Corner, August 30).

Savir writes to support his own 2001 peace proposals, which were met with vociferous silence at the time. They suggested that Jerusalem be split politically into three parts: Jewish areas, Arab areas (which would include the Dome of the Rock and Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount) and, believe it or not, a United Nations sector.

He writes: “If we can have peace, with security, and maintain sovereignty of all parts of Jewish Jerusalem, then giving up east Jerusalem is not only worthwhile, but necessary.”

Having been a negotiator for the Oslo Accords, was Savir awake during the past 20 years? One can only shudder with disbelief that there still exist defenders of Palestinian intentions and their record of rejection, escalating demands and violence. It is discouraging to read such nonsense coming from one of Israel’s esteemed diplomats.

Savir’s opinions are based upon the good will and truthfulness of Palestinian promises. It is not their words that he should be accepting – it is their deeds.

As the Islamic world continues to boil over, it would be national suicide to offer any kind of Arab sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem until we have a more rational and peaceful partner.

YITZCHAK BEN-SHMUEL

Modi’in

Sir, – Uri Savir has outlined a neat, easily understandable solution to what has escaped the rest of us for so long – a peace plan with the Palestinians. But first, answers to a few questions will help convince skeptics like me.

Savir writes that the “Palestinian leadership understands” that Israel will not accept a return of refugees into Israel. My question: Why don’t the Palestinians, who “understand” this, not concede this point now? It would certainly give Israel greater incentive to concede on other points.

Savir points out the pragmatic benefits to Israel for dividing Jerusalem for peace. Foreign countries, “which never recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital,” would now do so and relocate their embassies from Tel Aviv. My question: From 1948- 1967, east Jerusalem was controlled by Arabs. Why at the time didn’t any country recognize the rest of Jerusalem as our capital? Why would they now? Savir advises dividing the city in two: Palestinian control over Palestinian areas, and Israeli control over Israeli areas (including the Western Wall). Questions for clarification: How would the city be divided? With a concrete wall? Electrified barbed wire? A line painted in the street? Also, what happens if (when) a Palestinian extremist throws a firebomb on those praying at the Western Wall, or if a rocket is fired at downtown Jerusalem or the Knesset? How should Israel react? And my last question: Would Savir live in Jerusalem should his plan be implemented? A column devoted to these questions would do a lot to move skeptics into Savir’s Corner (or out of it).

AVIGDOR BONCHEK

Jerusalem Editing breakdown


Sir, – In the article “Israel launches first Brain Hack” (August 30), there is a paragraph telling us that in the future, cars might be able to “break faster.”

My car breaks too soon for my taste. Sometimes it’s because I have engine problems, and sometimes because I have to repair the brakes.

LARRY ISRAEL
Rehovot

The Editor responds: The phrase, of course, should have been “brake faster.”

Imbibing on words

Sir, – An old-new contributor for our weekend pleasure. What a delight to read Avraham Avihai’s peek at the past and his words of insight for the present and future (The POSTman Knocks Twice).

What a great cocktail of reading pleasure.

TZVI TOREM
Jerusalem

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