Bold, historic step
We read the announcement that the US embassy in Israel would be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem (“US to move embassy in phases, beginning in May,” February 25.) That coincides with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s independence.
What a bold, historic step! It is a testament to a pro-Israel president and the strong alliance and friendship between America and Israel. Bravo!
DIANA and DON THORN
Choking and reconsidering
With regard to “Polish officials to arrive to discuss Holocaust law” (February 25), more than 70 years since the end of World War II, the smoke from the burning bodies in the death camps that were located in Poland is still in the air. It is causing the Poles to choke and reconsider their shameless legislation.DAVID GUTTMAN
Recognizing our friends
With regard to “‘No better friends in the world,’ PM says after meeting evangelicals” (February 25), I suggest that Israel start recognizing its true friends, not just among leaders and on the political plane, but also individually.
As someone who has worked in tourism for over 30 years running a hostel in Eilat, I am referring to a phenomenon we have sadly noticed that is happening more and more. Guests of ours, tourists from Europe and North America, are being questioned for hours by Passport Control officers at the Ben-Gurion and Uvda airports in an antagonistic manner, even being denied entry.
On Friday afternoon, we had a call from a guest we were expecting. She is a great friend of Israel – she participates in pro-Israel demonstrations in Germany and wears a Star of David. So taking advantage of the low-cost flights to Eilat, she decided to come for a long weekend.
Unfortunately, she is apparently too good a friend of Israel, having visited here multiple times in the past few years. At Passport Control, they began examining her, looking into her cellphone and laptop, and eventually sending her back to Germany – not even to her hometown, but to Berlin, six hours from her place of origin – with a letter that she wouldn’t be able to return to Israel for 10 years.
The official reason, according to the document they gave her, was “illegal immigration considerations.”
Who do they think they are fooling? She has a good job and a home in Germany, and certainly doesn’t plan to immigrate to Israel. Are they afraid of her because she has not only many Jewish friends here, but also friends in the Arab sector and among Sudanese migrants?
She loves everyone but is always advocating on behalf of Israel. She is a natural ambassador for Israel in Germany. So I am asking: When will we learn to recognize our friends and not treat those (few) who love us as our enemies? JUDY GALBLUM PEX
Column fails, and fails well
Gershon Baskin’s “It is still the occupation” (Encountering Peace, February 22) fails to include information vital to a proper analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. By putting all of the blame on Israel, he perpetuates the sort of half-truth that is no better than a lie.
1. Israel “occupies” the “West Bank” because of a war fought in self-defense over 50 years ago. There are consequences to attacking one’s neighbor – and failing.
2. The IDF still controls the area because it is necessary to prevent terror. In the post-second intifada and -9/11 world, only a fool fails to acknowledge this threat.
3. The Palestinian leadership fails to discourage terror. In fact, it encourages it via its “pay to slay” remuneration to terrorists’ families and via a culture that glorifies terror.
4. There is no incentive for the Palestinian leadership to solve its problems if it means losing huge bucks from UNRWA and other sources, who pay per “refugee” head. The Palestinian leadership is rolling in dough. Those who fund it consistently fail to hold it accountable for its political intransigence and lies, as well as its society’s ills.
The key word here is “fail” – and this column does it well.BRYNN SUGARMAN
Gershon Baskin criticizes bitterly those who don’t agree with him about the existence of a people called “Palestinian.”
I assume that he disapproves of what Zuheir Mohsen, a Palestinian figure in the PLO, once told a Dutch newspaper: “The Palestinian people [do] not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the State of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality, today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct ‘Palestinian people’ to oppose Zionism.”
Regarding this, why does the UN Partition plan of 1947 mention numerous times a Jewish state and an Arab state, but nowhere a “Palestinian” state? In what respect do the Palestinians have a separate identity from other Arabs, taking into account that they share the same history, ethnic identification, religion and language? Which Palestine did the PLO want to liberate when it was founded in 1964, three years before the Israeli “occupation”?
Would Mr. Baskin consider Jordan, a country with a Palestinian majority, a Palestinian state? If not, why not? Does he have any reasonable explanations as to why the Palestinian leaders rejected the peace offers of 2000 and 2008, which granted them practically all they wanted? Is he aware that an essential Palestinian condition for any peace agreement is that Israel must accept an overwhelming immigration of the descendants of the 1948 refugees? Does he justify the fact that after two or three generations of the 1948 refugees having been born in Lebanon and other countries, their brother Arabs refuse to give them citizenship?
I look forward to Mr. Baskin’s answers.SUSAN AMOSI
Marcus Sheff’s “Time for UNRWA to face the truth about its textbooks” (Comment & Features, February 18) is correct in its findings that UNRWA books, supplied by the Palestinian Authority, indoctrinate the next generation for total war.
Our agency attests to the veracity of this conclusion since we bought and translated all school books used by the PA and UNRWA. These books are now available for review at the Center for Near East Policy Research.
Responsibility for the lack of supervision of UNRWA education lies with two factors:
1. The 68 UNRWA donor nations, any of which could condition funds on the removal of incendiary textbooks and the firing of UNRWA teachers who are members of a terrorist organization
2. The Civil Administration, which has been mandated by the Defense Ministry since 1967 to check every school book in use in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Neither the Civil Administration nor the ministry will answer the question as to why the Israeli establishment will not vet the war-indoctrination curriculum of the PA and UNRWA.
The slogan of the UN is that “peace starts here.” Why do the UNRWA donor nations and the Civil Administration allow UNRWA to act as if it’s war that starts with UNRWA?
The writer is director of the Israel Resource News Agency and Center for Near East Policy Research.