In “The authority of the Authority” (Encountering Peace, January 5), Gershon Baskin describes the Palestinian Authority in glowing terms.
Amazingly, he leaves out the following: incitement against Jews, terror attacks, support for incarcerated terrorists, undermining Israel at the UN, a lack of free and democratic elections, no apparent heir, low-paying jobs, a lack of free press and free speech, the removal of Salaam Fayad as prime minister, complete control of PA money by President Mahmoud Abbas and his cohorts, and deep-rooted corruption from enriching his sons.
MATIAS ROTENBERG Petah Tikva
In response to Gershon Baskin’s “The state of denial” (Encountering Peace, December 29), the denial Baskin refers to is the Israeli refusal over the years to acknowledge that settlements have been “established illegally on Palestinian territory occupied since 1967.”
Judea and Samaria have never been Palestinian land. Only in 1947, when the UN partitioned what remained of the British Mandate, could it possibly have been regarded as such. But the Palestinians clearly and emphatically had no interest in taking control of the land offered if it required recognition of a Jewish state. Together with the armies of five Arab nations, they attacked the nascent Israeli state with the intention of driving all Jews out of the area.
This leaves Article 80 of the League of Nations as the only legally binding and relevant document relating to the area, which, in view of the 3,000 year association with the land, designated it a homeland for the Jewish people.
It is people like Gershon Baskin who are in a state of denial – denial of the truth of our history; denial of the intransigence, rejectionism and incitement of the Palestinians; denial of the truth that but for their refusal to recognize the right of the Jewish people to a state of their own, the Palestinians could today be living in their own state, in freedom and independence.
BARBARA BROWN Netanya
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said of Sgt. Elor Azaria that he is not our collective son (“Eisenkot: Azaria is a soldier, not ‘the whole nation’s son,’” January 4). But I think that almost everyone else sees the possibility that Azaria represents all of our children who are under the pressure of war.
I have five children who entered the army, two of them in special units. Having witnessed what could happen to my child, I would certainly think twice today of allowing any of them to endanger themselves – not by war, but by the court’s rules of war, which could punish them for killing the enemy.
Next time a soldier – someone’s child – is confronted by a terrorist and doesn’t take that second shot because he thinks the first was enough to incapacitate the terrorist, only for the terrorist to arise and, God forbid, shoot the soldier, will the chief of staff and the military judges laud the soldier for his restraint? Will he then be “the whole nation’s son”?
YAACOV PETERSEIL JerusalemA teacher speaks up
I am sick and tired of people bad-mouthing teachers (“Homegrown assimilation,” Comment & Features, January 4).
I taught English and computers for 30 years. I know what Kaf-tet B’November is because my school studied it every year. I cannot name all five books of the Torah, and I’m pretty sure a general studies teacher can’t teach the use of simple present tense in English any more than I could give a Bible lesson.
Teachers know how to teach the subjects they’re supposed to teach, and they have no more reason than a banker, for example, to know other subjects. The question is, are they properly teaching their subjects? Every time someone writes an article about bringing in good teachers, they are insulting the thousands of good teachers already in the system. Maybe the problem isn’t the teachers.
I invite Amichai Shikli to try and teach a class in which two or three kids have ADHD and aren’t getting treatment because their parents don’t believe anything is wrong. Try and assign homework and have only half the class show up with it, with their parents making every excuse in the book. Try and teach over the noise of kids talking during the lesson instead of learning.
Teachers have absolutely no tools to enforce discipline, so please stop blaming them. As long as 60% of a lesson is taken up with disciplinary problems, I don’t see the situation improving anytime soon.
LEAH REBICHIA Gonen Nothing new
With regard to “When the media is consistently wrong” (Grapevine, January 4), this is not unique to the 21st century.
To quote Mark Twain: “If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.”
SANDRA PRAIS JerusalemClarifying our rights
Applying Israeli law to Ma’aleh Adumim or to other parts of Area C, or even all of it (“Bennett: We will annex Ma’aleh Adumim as a first step,” January 3), is not a bad idea, but it isn’t the most appropriate response to the assault on Israel implied by the recent Security Council resolution. The proper response is to affirm Israel’s legal rights, which are extensive, as opposed to Arab rights, which are minimal – in fact, non-existent.
Step one should be to adopt the Levy Report on settlement and implement it as the basis for Israeli policy. Second, we should encourage discussion of the report by sponsoring debates and legal analyses in academic, legal and political forums. This could well imply the expenditure of significant sums of money, but it would be money well spent, even if the debates are resolved negatively.
It is important to establish that Israel has a legally defensible claim to Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, and, in fact, to all of the territory noted in the original League of Nations Palestine Mandate, which includes the land on which Jordan was established.
The best defense is a good offense. At the end of the day, we could agree to abandon our claims to the areas beyond the Jordan River in exchange for recognition of our rights to all the land to the west.
STEPHEN COHEN Ma’aleh Adumim
Rejoice in Trump!
Eight years ago, history was made when Barak Obama was elected the first black president of the US. He came to power with high hopes and good will from people all over the world.
Unfortunately, he had two weak points that would prove fatal to his presidency: an irrational obsession with Israel and an overarching arrogance concerning his abilities.
Obama’s obsession with Israel meant that he was blind to the dangers posed by Islamic terrorism, leading him to famously dismiss Islamic State as a minor irritant. Likewise, his arrogance led him to repeat the errors of Neville Chamberlain by simultaneously adopting a policy of appeasement with Iran while publicly criticizing Israel.
The inevitable result was not long in coming – a regional loss of trust in the US and a whirlwind of destruction, murder and mayhem throughout the world on a scale not seen since the end of the Second World War.
By electing Donald Trump as their president, the American people have decisively rejected the Obama legacy. This is only a first step, and many more will be needed if the United States is to end the scourge of international Islamic terrorism and rebuild the trust Obama so frivolously threw away.
Let us all join with the American people and rejoice in their election of Trump as their president.
H.B. MITCHELL Mazkeret Batya