Why the mystery?
Sir, – Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told EU ambassadors on April 11 that he had not yet decided when to deliver a speech presenting a new Israeli diplomatic initiative, or what he would say. But just three days later, he told a Likud gathering that he would deliver a speech in Washington in which he’d “present the principles of our diplomatic and security policies” (“PM to set out ‘firm principles’ in May speech to Congress,” April 15).
It is laudable that Netanyahu has finally decided to explain exactly where his government stands on the critical issues facing the country. After all, so long as he fails to set out an Israeli proposal for a final resolution of the Israel-Palestinian dispute, it will be left entirely to Israel’s enemies to define the issues. The longer he waits, the more likely it is that outsiders will attempt to impose a settlement.
Still, one wonders what changed in those intervening days. Why did he have to hide his plans from the ambassadors, only to reveal them at a party meeting the same week? This is certainly not the type of clarity and forthrightness that Israel (and the world) should expect from its leadership.EFRAIM A. COHEN
And why the locale?
Sir, – While it is a great honor for Israel and our prime minister to be
invited to address a joint session of the US Congress, it boggles my
mind why an important new policy of the Israeli government would be
introduced first to a foreign legislative body rather than to the
Are we so beholden to the US? URI HIRSCH
Sir, – Does anyone really care what former prime minister Ehud Olmert
says (“Goldstone’s regrets are too little, too late,” Frontlines, April
15)? A man who is under investigation and who has disgraced himself and
his nation is not worthy of an opinion.
He who is without sin should cast the first stone! HELA CROWN-TAMIR
Neveh Ilan Who are the ‘kids?’
Sir, – I attended the Justin Bieber concert with my daughter (“‘Bieber
fever’ peaks at TA concert,” April 15). There were so many girls with
signs saying: Sorry Justin! These girls were apologizing to Bieber for
the shameful way the paparazzi treated him.
Amazing, isn't it? Teenage girls are more responsible and sensitive than those adult men.DREA GRIMES
Holon Too much stimulant
Sir, – Usually I read Larry Derfner’s Rattling the Cage
columns with the intent of raising my blood pressure to a level that I
may start my day excitedly. However, I must say that his April 14 column
(“We got out of Gaza, didn’t we?”) brought my blood pressure to a boil.
Derfner states that we don’t know what is going on in Gaza and “don’t
care,” and only care about “Israelis get(ting) hurt or killed.” Well,
duh – what should we care about in this turnedaround, crazy world of
Jew-hating? The boy in the school bus hit by an anti-tank missile, I’m
sure, did not have killing Gazans on his mind, and probably was no more
interested in the well-being of Gazans than he ought to have been. He
was just on a school bus, going to visit his grandmother. But the
Gazans, “innocent civilians,” as Derfner refers to them, certainly had a
target in their sights, and what a grand one. What might the world say
to Israel had we targeted a clearly marked bus, yellow or not? The 19
Gazans killed in the ensuing IDF attacks were, maybe, in the wrong place
at the wrong time, but the “wrong place” for sure was because Hamas
uses them as shields and hides its weaponry among them.DEBRA FORMAN
Sir, – In his latest column, Larry Derfner decries the blocking of
foodstuffs to Gaza since the recent attack on the school bus,
rhetorically asking if anyone knows about this supposed violation of law
I wonder if Derfner knows about Article 23 of the Fourth Geneva
Convention, where this key document of international law states that
High Contracting Parties (i.e., governments that have signed on to the
Convention) must “permit the free passage of all consignments of
essential foodstuffs, clothing and tonics intended for children under
fifteen, expectant mothers and maternity cases.” Implicit is that
occupying powers do not have to provide essential items for the general
adult population living under occupation.
Moreover, Article 23 continues to explain that “The obligation of a High
Contracting Party to allow the free passage of [such] consignments is
subject to the condition that this Party is satisfied that there are no
serious reasons for fearing...
that a definite advantage may accrue to the military efforts or economy
of the enemy through the substitution of the above-mentioned
consignments for goods which would otherwise be provided or produced by
the enemy or through the release of such material, services or
facilities as would otherwise be required for the production of such
In other words, Israel didn’t even have to wait to block the importation
of essential foodstuffs into Gaza because, given the existence of an
active militant enemy government there, under international law Israel
has the legal and moral right (and many would say moral obligation) to
not allow Hamas to receive consignments that free up funds for buying
missiles to launch at Israel’s civilian population.ROBERT KLEIN
BeershebaReason for Bonds
Sir, – Regarding “Why does Israel Bonds still exist?” (Reality Check,
April 11), imagine what Israel would be like today if Israel’s first
prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, had not brought together Diaspora
leaders at that fateful King David Hotel conference in September 1950,
where the Israel Bonds organization was born.
As the co-authors of Not Just A Bond: A Bond With Israel, a history of
Israel Bonds, we believe that any truly objective observer would surely
recognize the crucial role that Bonds has played – and continues to play
– in the upbuilding of the State of Israel.
The results of these efforts are evident as one travels throughout the
nation and comes upon roads, rail lines, ports, oil refineries, power
plants and other vital facilities, including the National Water Carrier
and the gleaming, world-class Ben- Gurion International Airport, all
having been made possible in significant measure by the work of Israel
Bonds’ devoted professional staff and lay leadership.
Yet the construction of infrastructure is not the whole story. Over the
years, Bonds has attracted to its ranks a diverse cross-section of
Diaspora Jewry, individuals representing secular organizations and
religious streams alike, all drawn closer to the land and people of
Israel by participation in Bonds campaigns. Further, the very act of
purchasing an Israel Bond demonstrates the belief that Israel is fully
capable of meeting its financial obligations.
Surely, most people, save those few viewing the issue through an
uninformed or distorted lens, must welcome the continued existence of an
organization that from its beginning has brought more than $31 billion
into the Israeli economy and today raises funds in excess of $1 billion a
year.DEBORAH and GERALD STROBER
New York/Herzliya Pituah