Made his day
I read with great interest and amusement the first paragraph of Yossi Melman’s “Rockets from Gaza endanger calm” (Analysis, August 22).
I want to start by saying that I’m a great admirer of Mr. Melman, and always look forward to reading his articles in The Jerusalem Post. The only reason for my complaint in this instance is that he didn’t take me to the bash he must have gone to before he wrote that paragraph – and from which he obviously hadn’t yet recovered. As a dull retiree who graduated from law school more than 50 years ago, I could have done with the shake-up.
I also want Yossi to know that, being a bit of an expert at cryptic crosswords for even more years than I’ve been a lawyer, I had no difficulty in working out what he was getting at in those five lines. I loved it! He made my day! ALEXANDER ZIMMERMAN Ganei Tikva
Explaining the UN I am compelled to write to correct an egregious, but common, error in “A new UN” (Editorial, August 22), which states that it was the United Nations that “brought the State of Israel into existence nearly 70 years ago.”
UN General Assembly Resolution 181 of November 1947 facilitated, or enabled, the establishment of two independent states – a Jewish state and an Arab state. It established neither state; that was left to the respective communities then living in Palestine. The Jewish community, under its political leadership, acted and established the State of Israel. The Arabs refused to establish their state and launched war against the newborn Jewish state.
Israel’s existence as an independent, sovereign state is not a product of the UN any more than the United States, Russia, China or India owe their existence to outside forces. The UN is not empowered to create states, as explained by a prominent British judge, Sir Gerald Fitzmaurice, on the International Court of Justice: The Security Council, even when acting genuinely for the preservation of peace, is not empowered to effect legal changes “in territorial rights, whether of sovereignty or administration.... It was to keep the peace, not to change the world order, that the Security Council was set up.”
The General Assembly certainly has no power to modify territorial rights. Its powers are limited to recommendations only.
All this is important not only in appreciating Israel’s standing in the international community of states – it is critically important in the face of current discussions about seeking a solution to the Arab-Israeli dispute by a UN resolution in favor of a Palestinian state.
SHLOMO SLONIM Jerusalem
The writer is James G. McDonald Professor of American History, emeritus, and former chairman of the Department of American Studies in the Faculty of Humanities at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and author of Jerusalem in America’s Foreign Policy.
“Dehaishe Palestinian youth and the IDF’s heavy-handed policies” (Comment & Features, August 22) brought back a traumatic experience that still haunts me.
Late one evening about 25 years ago, I drove past the Dehaishe camp, returning from the airport accompanied by family, including an infant. I suddenly realized that the strong wind in the car was due to stones having crashed through a front window.
A moment of panic ensued: Should I stop and seek cover, or continue to my destination? Quickly consulting with the other occupants, I hurriedly completed the trip, fearful all the way that more rocks would reach me through the open space.
How many drivers, in a moment of panic or injury, have met death in similar circumstances? Now I read that young Palestinian rock throwers are being “wounded with direct shots to the legs” that are “not meant to kill, but to cause a specific result.” It seems that Mutaz Adawi is proposing that IDF responses to these youthful attackers should be handled with care, that these youths should not be killed or even injured while they carry out their murderous activities.
VICKY MANNIS Jerusalem
According to “30 structures in Sussiya could be demolished, says draft document” (August 18), the village is “located on private, Palestinian-owned agricultural lands.” As this is stated definitively and without qualification, the reader is left with the distinct impression that the Arabs who are squatters on the land have a claim to it. The facts, however, tell a different story.
The presumptive Arab claim is predicated on an 1881 Ottoman Empire land-grant document, known as a kushan. But no such document has ever been submitted to an Israeli court for examination and verification.
What is more, being in possession of an Ottoman land deed in and of itself is insufficient – Ottoman law required that land given for agricultural purposes be cultivated, and that applicable taxes and fees be paid. If a period of three years elapsed during which time the person to whom the land deed had been given did not cultivate it and failed to pay taxes, the land reverted back to the governing authority.
In point of fact, this land is Israeli state land.
ARLENE KUSHNER Jerusalem The writer is co-chair of the Legal Grounds Campaign, a group promoting Israel’s rights in Judea and Samaria.
Not neutral at all
Correspondent Michael Wilner’s views of Donald Trump are blatantly biased, as shown in “Trump’s campaign site remains ‘neutral’ on Israeli-Palestinian conflict” (August 18). Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is an extension of President Barak Obama. His policies are her policies. She was his secretary of state when his Middle East policies were formulated and implemented. She supports the Iran nuclear agreement, while Republican candidate Donald Trump has called it the worst agreement ever made by the US.
Iran is arming Hezbollah with sophisticated missiles that can reach anywhere in Israel, and the agreement has a guaranteed Tehran a path to a nuclear bomb. It is the most existential threat facing Israel, yet Clinton supports the agreement. Trump opposes it.
If “Israel’s security is non-negotiable,” as your correspondent reports Clinton as saying, what does she call the Iran nuclear agreement? It sounds like the Obama administration, with Clinton’s approval, negotiated away Israel’s security.
RON COPE Chicago
Importance of planning While “Ahead of Tu Be-av, activist groups recommend halachic prenuptial pledge” (August 18) was interesting reading, the reality is that this concept is yet to be accepted by the first-time-marrying ultra-Orthodox community.
This is due to the fear of scaring away a prospective match.
As a halachic estate-planning attorney in both Israel and the US, I’m finding that in remarriage situations, using this agreement is more accepted. In fact, I’ve recently seen a rise in post-nuptial agreements.
What people fail to realize is that what is equally important, from both halachic and civil viewpoints, is the need to do basic estate planning so as to ensure that intended beneficiaries come into their inheritances properly and guardians are provided for minors.
TIRTZA JOTKOWITZ Jerusalem
Taking it seriously
With reference to “Jewish Labour members say they don’t want Corbyn” (August 16), may I refer your readers to the definition of the Labour Party in the authoritative Henry Root’s World of Knowledge (1982), which defines it as “never to be taken more seriously than when in the process of destroying itself.”
C’est plus ca change.
HENRY KAYE Ashkelon