The UN process
Sir, – In “France says EU may recognize Palestinian statehood”
(April 24), Martin Indyk did not get the UN process quite right.
General Assembly can only make recommendations. It cannot recognize a
Palestinian state and admit that state to UN membership.
The fact that
the US cannot exercise its veto in the General Assembly is immaterial. The UN
Charter does not give the General Assembly, acting alone, authority to recognize
and admit a state for membership.
There is, however, reason for concern:
Palestinian spokesmen have mentioned that they would try to get the General
Assembly to use the “uniting-for-peace” device to recommend voluntary collective
BDS measures. It would be another step in the ongoing program to use the UN to
As for the UN’s action regarding the creation of the
State of Israel, the resolution of November 29, 1947, was nothing other than a
recommendation for partition. It was accepted by the Jewish Agency for
Palestine, but not by the Arab states.
Israel was not granted UN
membership at the time of its creation – it was recognized by the UN and granted
membership in 1949 under the two-step process provided in the UN Charter:
recommendation by the Security Council (in March 1949, with only the UK
abstaining and all other members voting “yes”) and acceptance of that
recommendation by the General Assembly (in May 1949, by a vote of 35 to
The United States has made it quite clear that it opposes the use of
the UN to bypass bilateral negotiations in establishing a Palestinian state.
Thus, if the Security Council fails to make a recommendation for membership, the
General Assembly cannot effect admission or recognition in a manner that binds
UN members.RICHARD SCHIFTER
Bethesda, Maryland The writer is chairman of
the board of directors of the American Jewish International Relations Institute
One is enough
Sir, – I was saddened to read “Bus flips over, injuring 46 on
Highway 6” (April 24) and wish all the injured a complete recovery.
the article stated that the bus driver “did not have a high number of traffic
citations on his record.” What does the bus company consider a high number? More
than one is too many.
I don’t understand why Israeli drivers are allowed
on our roads with all the citations on their records. This situation must end,
and passengers and pedestrians should be able to ride and walk safely on the
streets and highways.HANNAH SONDHELM
Jerusalem Anyone listening?
Regarding Dan Diker’s recent op-ed (“Justin Bieber and Israel’s missed
opportunity,” Comment & Features, April 24), sadly, Israel seldom misses an
opportunity to miss a good public relations opportunity. The Bieber flub follows
the recent Hamas weapons shipment fumble. I don’t understand why these things
Here in the fleshpots, some of the smartest advertising and PR
experts are Jews. Surely, some Israelis must understand how to play the game.
Does no one listen? The US television audience is the most important public
relations target in the world for Israel. It needs to employ PR professionals
and follow their advice. This advice should include addressing the world through
native speakers of English – people Americans can understand and with whom they
can identify.NEAL GENDLER
Minneapolis, Minnesota Won’t turn blue
Maurice Ostroff’s masterly challenge to Judge Richard Goldstone’s fellow
commission members – whose proven anti-Israel bias led to a report that probably
did more damage to Israel than anything else in its history – deserves a
response (“To the remaining members of the UN fact-finding mission on Gaza,”
Comment & Features, April 24).
But I am not holding my
Hina Jilani, Christine Chinkin and Desmond Travers were all on
record, before the Goldstone Commission heard a shred of evidence, as saying
Israel was guilty of war crimes. Sadly, the UN and other agencies have a long
record of choosing anti-Israel representatives to sit in judgement of Israel.
The Goldstone Commission was a prime example.
Cheadle, UK Israel or not
Sir, – Last month, Ray Hanania wrote that the reason there was no
uprising in Syria was that Bashar Assad was a leader in the fight against Israel
(“Freedom, democracy and ulterior motives,” Yalla Peace, March 2). But events
since then have proved just how wrong that is (“Over 100 killed as ‘Great
Friday’ turns into Syria’s bloodiest weekend,” April 24).
Assad is no
less anti-Israel now than he was before the demonstrations rocking his country
Indeed, one of the most telling characteristics of the protests is
that they intensified after a speech in which Assad accused Israel of fomenting
The Syrians’ initial hesitation to oppose their government
was not a statement in support of the Palestinians, but a decision to protect
their own lives from the wholly predictable response from Assad’s
Hanania, like so many other long-distance commentators, looks at
the Middle East almost exclusively through the Israeli-Palestinian prism. Recent
events show how little a part of the regional puzzle this dispute really
plays.EFRAIM A. COHEN
Zichron Ya’acov Show them hospitals
Sir, – I read
with great interest the interview with Oren Helman (“The voice of Israel,”
Pessah Supplement, April 18). His plan to show journalists the Israel beyond the
conflict is – if anything – counterproductive.
The natural tendency of
people is to sympathize with the underdog, the poor, the victims. The
Palestinians have played this card very effectively and Israel must counter this
Rather than offering, as Helman proposes, “various tours to
expose journalists to the country’s dynamic economy and technological
innovations,” let us show them our hospitals. Here they will see Arab and Jewish
doctors, nurses and staff working side by side for all patients, irrespective of
religious or ethnic origin. I personally experienced this when I was a patient
at Kfar Saba’s Meir Hospital, where the doctor who admitted me was an Arab, the
head nurse in my ward was a Muslim, and the man cleaning the floor wore a
Let them see our universities, where equal education is given to
all, or perhaps visit the WIZO daycare center in Jaffa where Jewish, Muslim and
Christian toddlers learn about the “other” – a positive contribution to
Helman’s proposal to show off how clever and successful we
are will only result in more hatred toward Israel. The world is well aware of
our success in hi-tech but knows very little, if anything, about how we care for
all our citizens. It is this we must project if we are to succeed in reversing
the hateful poison disseminated worldwide.JOHN KATTEN
Sir, – It is with great emotion that I write this letter on
behalf of the family of Daniel Viflic, the 16- year-old boy who succumbed to
wounds incurred when his school bus was hit by a missile launched from the Gaza
To those who came to visit and to all of the individuals and
communities around the world that prayed for Daniel, we thank you. Most of you
we do not know – which makes your kindness and support even more important to
Daniel touched our lives and so have you all. On behalf of the
Viflic, Rozental, Pinchuk and Layden families, in our darkest hour we felt you
were with us.SIMON LAYDEN
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