Sir, – Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is complaining that Israel is delaying the release of the last batch of Palestinian prisoners, calling them “dear to our hearts” (“Kerry drops trip to PA to seal deal that would free Pollard, curb settlement construction,” April 2). I could just throw up.
A couple of dozen convicted murderers are the ones dear to the Palestinians’ hearts? This is who we’re supposed to be making peace with?
MENACHEM G. JERENBERG
Sir, – I think the US is interfering far too much in the Arab prisoner issue. Its leaders pressured us into releasing 104 convicted murderers to get the “piece process” dragging on; now they want us to release more. Incredible! I suggest it be made proportional.
If they want us to release murderers they should release prisoners on death row plus Jonathan Pollard to give it moral equivalence.
At some stage we need to say stop! No more lopsided deals!
Sir, – Regarding “Kerry arrives, holds late-night meetings to save peace talks” (April 1), how appropriate! April Fools’ Day! Not just for US Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama, who claim to be our faithful allies and supporters, but for the Israeli government, which has been going along with the farcical negotiations with the Palestinians.
It has been stated that Israel will release the final batch of 26 murderers if it knows the talks will move forward. Move forward to what? More one-sided gestures on the part of Israel in return for further Palestinian intransigence? To top it off, there have been hints that the US night be willing to release Jonathan Pollard as bait for Israel to make further concessions.
As an American citizen who loves America, I am shocked and embarrassed at the audacity of the US government to offer Pollard in return for such concessions. His life sentence is a travesty of justice and everyone in the US government knows it, but there is absolutely no connection between his continued incarceration and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
As much as I and most other Israelis want to see Pollard released, there is no justification to do so in return for the freeing of 26 more murderers, as well as others. If Israel agrees to this, it is truly the fool.
Sir, – Surely the fact that there is even a hint that Jonathan Pollard could be released in return for Israel releasing Palestinian prisoners with blood on their hands confirms that US President Barack Obama is treating him as a hostage. Were a government minister here to even suggest that the US was acting much like Hamas did in regard to Gilad Schalit, you can be sure that Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry et al. would be shocked and outraged that someone dared say such a thing.
As I am not a government minister but a humble member of the public, I can and do say it. In fact, I would like to ask President Obama why exactly he is refusing to free Pollard. Or is he holding him to exact more and yet more concessions from Israel? Sorry as I am for Pollard, I hope that our government does not give in to this bullying and blackmail. There should be no linkage. The two subjects are, or at least should be, entirely unrelated.
Sir, – Regarding “Israel likely to release of 26 terrorists in coming days” (March 31), we can only hope and pray that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will not let this happen.
We know from experience that releasing terrorists always results in the murder of many more innocent Israeli citizens without making any contribution toward achieving an honorable and viable peace. PA President Mahmoud Abbas is very clear that he will not recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people. He will not sign a peace treaty with us no matter what we do.
Furthermore, none of our painful gestures of goodwill toward the Arabs, nor any of our humanitarian aid to nations all over the globe, especially in times of disaster, have improved our reputation. The recent vote in the United Nations Human Rights Council (“UNHRC slams Israel in five resolutions,” March 30) shows that with the exception of one vote we are branded the most terrible nation in the world.
Many Arabs consider our concessions a sign of weakness.
They respond by asking for more and offering less.
This works for them, but not for us. We need to be doing something different.
Sir, – I read “A way forward” (Editorial, April 2) and for a moment felt a great deal of confusion. It suddenly seemed as if I were reading Haaretz or Al-Quds by mistake.
“Moving ahead with on-theground reforms depends on our prime minister and the government he heads making a conscious decision not just to talk about improving the lives of Palestinians but to take concrete steps in that direction,” you say at the end.
It’s the same old leftist mantra about what Israel has to do, never mentioning what the other side has to do to move the process forward and improve the lives of its own people. By continuing along these lines you play into the “Palestinian” theme of victimization.
Quite frankly, I think Post founding editor Gershon Agron is spinning in his grave.
Sir, – If the negotiations break down and the Palestinians embark on an international diplomatic offensive against Israel, I hope we do not make the same error we made when they took their case to the UN General Assembly.
This time it should be recognized that Israel’s goal is not the outcome of any vote, but the image it presents to the world.
Rather than saying “No, no, no,” Israel should publicly state the minimum conditions in order for it to vote “Yes.”
Of course, the Palestinians would not accept them, but either way Israel wins.
A possible set of minimum conditions could be: 1. Hamas publicly states in English, Hebrew and Arabic that it has abandoned its goal of the destruction of Israel and therefore with the establishment of a Palestinian state the conflict is over.
2. Fatah and Hamas reconcile and present a unified position.
3. The new state of Palestine becomes the national homeland of the Palestinian people.
4. Israel is recognized as the national homeland of the Jewish people.
5. The boundaries for the new state are clearly set forth in the Palestinians’ proposal and represent a reasonable compromise.
6. Both Israel and Palestine take full responsibility for any future violations arising from their respective territories.
If, as expected, the Palestinians’ response is a complete rejection, let the US, France, Germany, the UK, etc. defend voting for the establishment of an entity that has not given up its long-term goal of eliminating the State of Israel. So the conditions must be few and obviously reasonable to the vast majority of people in those countries, who know essentially none of the specifics or background to the conflict other than “stop the occupation.”
Unfortunately, doing what is obviously the best thing for our country will probably, as usual, take a very distant second place to domestic politics and the need to hold the governing coalition together.