April 22, 2018: The perfect diplomats

Our readers weigh in.

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April 21, 2018 21:03
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Letters. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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The perfect diplomats

I read with interest “Danon shows off Israel to the UN” (April 17). I hope that besides showing fellow ambassadors to the UN the standard tourist spots, Ambassador Danny Danon showed them that we are not an “apartheid state.”

Here these ambassadors could see Jews and Arabs going about their daily lives side by side in the streets and on buses, while shopping and at work, in our many neighborhood parks, hospital waiting rooms and wards, being cared for by the same doctors and nurses – who are also Arabs and Jews.

It is Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, not Israel, who declares that there will be no Jews in his future Palestinian state.

These UN ambassadors are the perfect diplomats to take this message home and bring first-person testimony to their people.

DEENA SPIGELMAN

Jerusalem

Can’t trust the Russians...

Recently, two Russian citizens were poisoned in the UK. It is obvious that this was done by Russian agents, but the Russians deny this implicitly.

Just recently, Bashar Assad of Syria bombed his own people with chemical weapons, killing many. This was done in cooperation with the Russian government – but again the Russians deny this.

During the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, the Russians – with government approval – tampered with the urine samples of the Russian athletes. When confronted, they denied this in every way. Later on, one of the Russians involved with the blood samples confirmed the tampering. The World Olympic Body banned the Russian Olympic team.

In view of all these circumstances, can the word of the Russian government be taken seriously?

DAVID GAFFAN
Ra’anana

...but all else is fair


The new ethic: Bombing, shooting, stabbing, torturing and any other cruelties to human beings are now acceptable. Just don’t use chemicals! What morality has the world come to? All we can do is pray for miracles.

HERTZEL KATZ
Ramat Hasharon

What is legitimate defense?

While correctly decrying Israel’s use of “half-hearted, indecisive” responses to Hamas violence (“The next Israeli War,” Observations, April 13), Lior Akerman pejoratively calls these weak responses “proportional force.” Others claim that the number of Palestinians who have died at the Gaza border in recent weeks is proof that Israel is guilty of using disproportionate force.

It is reasonable to view the current demonstrations as part of Hamas’s violent efforts to destroy Israel. The law of proportionality in war speaks to the way combatants conduct or respond to attacks, not to comparative casualty figures.

Israel has the right to defend itself. The general rule is this: Defensive actions must be proportional to the overall legitimate objective of ending aggression. There is no absolute prohibition on civilian deaths. Proportionate attacks against legitimate military targets are permitted even if civilians inevitably will be harmed.

A defending force is not required to wait to suffer harm (e.g., Israel doesn’t have to wait for Hamas to break through the Gaza fence and infiltrate the surrounding area), nor is it required to inflict only the level of casualties that it has suffered (otherwise, the aggressor would control the conflict by inflicting only the level of damage it is willing to absorb in response).

Protecting one’s country is not a fencing match in which both sides are required to use the same weapons. The strategy of a defensive war is to inflict heavy military losses on the other side as quickly as possible so that the enemy will stop its aggression. The fact that Hamas members and supporters have ratcheted up the intensity of their violence at the border demonstrates that IDF actions have not yet achieved that goal.

Indiscriminate shooting would be inexcusable, if this is what happened. The extent to which the IDF employed non-lethal crowd-dispersal methods before resorting to live fire is unclear.

Innocent civilian deaths are regrettable and must be avoided wherever possible. However, the mere fact that they occurred is not, in itself, proof that the IDF acted improperly in attempting to prevent violent incursions.

EFRAIM A. COHEN
Zichron Ya’acov

Justice denied

After reading Alan Joseph Bauer’s cry (“Justice,” Comment & Features, April 10), I decided to read and analyze the opinion of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Sokolow v. Palestine Liberation Organization.

In a lengthy 61-page decision, the court overturned the verdict at trial that awarded the plaintiffs over $600 million in damages. The purpose of my review was to see if I could conclude as to whether justice had been served or denied.

According to my analysis, the decision in favor of the Palestinian Authority was based on the finding that it is not a state and therefore is entitled to due process under the US Constitution. After finding that the PA was entitled to due process, the court went into a detailed analysis as to whether the PA had sufficient contacts with the United States so that the US court system had appropriate jurisdiction over the PA.

What bothers me most about the Court of Appeals’ decision, above and beyond letting the murderers get away with their crimes, is some of the logic behind its findings so that it easily could have ruled in favor of the original plaintiffs.

While the finding that the PA is not an actual state and therefore is entitled to the constitutional protection of due process is factually correct, the court never should have allowed it to make this claim.

Since the Oslo Accords, the PA has consistently advanced the position that it is a state. Whenever I see a representative of the PA in any international arena such as the United Nations or any of its biased agencies, the identifying plaque in front of the representative always says State of Palestine.

For the PA to argue that it really is not a sovereign state despite what it announces to the world at every opportunity is to permit it to defraud the US Court of Appeals. The learned judges on the panel had the opportunity to hold it to its daily proclamations and turn down its arguments.

The court then spent the majority of its opinion analyzing the PA’s contacts within the US and whether such contacts were sufficient to grant the US jurisdiction over the PA. In finding that there were insufficient contacts, “the question becomes, where are the PA and PLO fairly regarded as at home?” the court stated.

“The overwhelming evidence shows that the defendants are ‘at home’ in Palestine, where they govern. Palestine is the central seat of government for the PA and PLO. The PA’s authority is limited to the West Bank and Gaza, and it has no independently operated offices anywhere else. All PA governmental ministries, the Palestinian president, the Parliament, and the Palestinian security services reside in Palestine.”

All of the findings cited by the court seem to be consistent with a de jure state. If that be the case, how could the court justify its first finding that it was not dealing with a sovereign entity? Yes, Mr. Bauer, justice was not served by the Court of Appeals, and justice was definitely not provided by the US Supreme Court, which refused to review the Court of Appeal’s decision.

ARTHUR MILLER
Bet Shemesh
The writer has been practicing law in the United States for 50 years.

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