Sir, – I am confused and embarrassed. I sit here among matza and macaroons thinking it’s Pessah, yet I now realize I should be breaking out the hamantashen. Your article “PA: Holding our people in Israeli jails is a ‘war crime’” (April 18) is a purimshpil, right? I freely admit that I haven’t read the Geneva Conventions, but I think I’ve got the broad gist. The deliberate and discriminate slaughter of innocent men, women and children, incited, funded and orchestrated by the Palestinian Authority is certainly a crime against humanity.
The rationale of the terrorist agenda in relation to this article seems pretty clear to me. It is, simply put, as follows: If you, the Jewish people, would kindly disappear without trace, we wouldn’t be forced to try and eradicate your presence from this land. You offend and provoke us with your very being. If you weren’t so selfish as to jail the killers and murderers that we send against you, we would be left in peace to go about our business of attempted genocide.
Over-simplistic? Maybe. But if you attempt to use and abuse the principles of the Geneva Conventions, you should not be surprised if you are held to account for your own actions.
DANIEL B. MYERS
Netanya Worse than thought
Sir, – The situation is a bit worse than Martin Sherman phrases it in “The Jerusalem Post Conference: My retrospective perspective” (Into the Fray, April 18) when he says the idea of Palestinian statehood has morphed from a “marginalized” notion to a “majority-endorsed position.”
For example, on the next page Alexander Yakobson (“Jewish state – semantics versus the real thing,” iEngage) seems to think of it not as a position at all but as a matter to be taken for granted. He says that “recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to statehood” would “by no means be adopting the Palestinian narrative.”
What would it be adopting, then? Certainly, the right of the Palestinian Arabs to be considered a separate people at all rather than a small geographical segment of the overall Arab nation is not rooted in any but the most recent history, and the most recent history does not put a very deserving face on that supposedly separate people.
Same page lower down, Michael M. Cohen (“Kerry’s realty-check time: Questions that should be asked,” Letter from America) calls for understanding of cultural differences and the realization that “there is less concern with justice and honor and much more focus on security” among Israelis than among Arabs. The rabbi traces history only as far back as the 1940s and seems unaware that Israel has something to do with Judaism, which in turn has something to do with justice.
What he does think he knows is that in the 1940s, 93 percent of the land was owned by Palestinians (although they were not even called Palestinians at the time). Actually, 93% is the figure achieved by subtracting Jewish-owned land from total land, but half of that 93% was state-owned land. To equate state-owned land of the 1940s with land owned by Arabs, one needs to re-imagine the British Mandate as an Arab landowner or else imagine that Israel lost the War of Independence.
MARK L. LEVINSON
Herzliya Long-term intentions
Sir, – Like Alexander Yakobson, Uri Savir (“Permanent and interim,” Savir’s Corner, April 18) minimizes the importance of Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. Yakobson proposes various formulations that would allow the Palestinians to skirt the issue, while giving Israel enough to feel good. Savir rejects the need to go even that far.
Imagine that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced the following: “Israel accepts the creation of a new country along our borders.
However, we do not recognize that country as having any special Palestinian character, nor is it the nation state of the Palestinian people. We demand that millions of descendants of Abraham be allowed to return to their ancestral home in Hebron, and we reserve the right to make additional demands of the Palestinian people whenever we see fit.” This statement would be both offensive and absurd.
UN General Assembly Resolution 181 called for the creation of “independent Arab and Jewish states.” The potential existence of a fundamentally Jewish state in their midst so inflamed the Arabs that they sought to annihilate the nascent country.
The PA’s adamant rejection of our legitimacy suggests that the Palestinians have not renounced the reason for rejecting the partition plan 67 years ago.
Acceptance of the right of Jews to their own land is at the very heart of the dispute. Denial of this right is a denial of Israel’s raison d’etre and is the foundation on which future attempts to expel Jewish interlopers from this small island in the Arab sea will be based. Recognition of Israel’s undeniable Jewish character is the essential first step toward meaningful negotiations.
We do not demand that the Palestinians define our character.
Rather, we demand that they recognize the legitimacy of the character we have chosen for ourselves. Their refusal to do so tells us much about their long-term intentions for this small slice of land.
EFRAIM A. COHEN
Sir, – Liat Collins’s disturbing but eye-opening “Digest and divest?” (My Word, April 11) brings to mind another mocking parody of the traditional Seder.
In his book Haggadah and History, the late professor Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi discusses a Communist Haggada produced in the Soviet Union in 1927.
Entirely in Yiddish and using Soviet orthography, the official title was Haggada for Believers and Atheists.”
“The Communist parody of the Haggada... is a striking example of the mentality and techniques involved,” he writes.
Yerushalmi gives a few examples of what will suffice for the korekh (often referred to as “Hillel’s sandwich”): “Put together the Second International and the League of Nations. Between them place Zionism and say ‘Let them be eaten.’ May they be eaten up by the world revolutionary uprising of the proletariat.”
We all know what Stalin’s purges did to these derisive members of the Yevsektsiya (the Jewish section of the party) in the 1930s.
Hopefully, the Seattle scoffers will put aside their derisive Seder before it is too late – perhaps at some point those they support will turn against them, as happened in the Soviet Union in the 1930s. Unfortunately, I do not believe this year’s scornful production will be the last.
The writer is a rabbi. Good for recycling
Sir, – Does The Jerusalem Post
assume that all its readers are in the top 10 percent of the population who can afford the top-of-the- market housing projects in Jerusalem and the center of the country that it advertises? There is a significant proportion of the readership living in the North, earning regular salaries or living on limited pensions, and yet a recent Post real estate supplement contained not one article or piece of information of interest to anyone living north of Netanya.
As the costs of new housing projects soar throughout the country, many households with limited incomes have investigated creative renovations. The only interesting article in the entire supplement was about urban renewal – and it was not sufficiently detailed to be useful.
I appreciate that these supplements are all about getting advertising revenue, but there has to be some useful editorial content, otherwise it goes straight into the recycling box.