(photo credit: Courtesy)
Sir, - Once again, the specter of freeing mass-murderer Marwan Barghouti raises its ugly head ("Opposition divided over including Barghouti in Schalit prisoner swap," August 13).
Though all good people pray for the release of Gilad Schalit, it cannot come at any price, and certainly not the liberation of a killer serving five life terms for murder.
This monster gleefully spent his days planning and executing countless acts of terror. The morally diluted and deluded politicians who would promote Barghouti as a future Palestinian Authority president are condemning Israelis to years more bloodshed.
Barghouti must remain in prison at least until his murdered victims come back to life.
...& be kind to the deluded
Sir, - Anyone who believes that Marwan Barghouti, who received multiple life sentences for murder, can "strengthen the moderate current" needs sympathy and understanding. This can no doubt be provided by one of the excellent institutions where people can play out their fantasies in safety and comfort, without endangering others.
Sir, - While our thoughts and prayers go out to Gilad Schalit and his family for his swift return home, let us spare a thought for another Jew rotting in prison - an American prison: Jonathan Pollard. It is time for President Obama to back his fine words with fine deeds and free a good man who sought only to help his people and has been cruelly, unjustly and vindictively treated.
Sir, - Larry Derfner calls on the Obama administration to pressure Israel, claiming the real obstacle to peace is in Jerusalem, not Ramallah ("The Palestinians aren't suckers, either," August 13). True, perhaps - in the sense that the Palestinians, and the broader Arab world, refuse to compromise on Jerusalem. But they also refuse to compromise on anything else.
In particular, Mahmoud Abbas demands the resettlement of refugees in pre-1967 Israel, not the West Bank. This denies the rights of the equivalent number of Jewish refugees from Arab lands and sidesteps Arab responsibility for starting the wars that led to both refugee issues.
It would not make a difference if the Dalai Lama was Israel's prime minister; nor if there were no settlements on the West Bank; nor if Israel was just Tel Aviv. The bottom line remains Arab refusal to accept Jewish self-determination within any boundaries - that has not changed since the 1948 Arab invasion of a tiny Jewish state.
It was confirmed by the Palestinian president at the Fatah conference: They will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
Israel's tragedy is that it has so many collaborators with those who would destroy it.
Different kettle of fish
Sir, - Alon Liel argues correctly that an important function of a diplomat's job is to convey to his superiors and the political echelon the effect of their policies on the government and public in the country where he is stationed ("An unconventional missile hits Jerusalem," August 12).
However, Nadav Tamir did not merely convey an unpopular view to the powers that be; he publicly announced his message - in effect showing his personal disapproval of the policy of the government he represents. A very different kettle of fish, and ignored by Liel.
It is inconceivable that Tamir could be permitted to continue in the diplomatic corps after such a major act of insubordination, regardless of whether his opinion is correct or not.
Sir, - In "What next?" (UpFront, August 7), Naomi Chazan told us that to achieve the desired two-state solution, Israel should acknowledge "the overarching significance of the Arab peace initiative." Let's see just what there is of "overarching significance" in the Arab peace initiative.
In Article 7 ("Refugees"), Clause 3 spells out the compensation Israel must pay for causing the refugee problem, both to the refugees themselves and also to the countries that have hosted the refugees for so many years.
Section 3(i) deals with compensation due to the refugees (it works out to over $200 billion) and Section 3(ii) with the compensation due to the host countries (add another $100b. to the bill). In summary, the Arab peace initiative requires Israel to pay nearly a third of a trillion dollars.
And where would the refugees (who number 4.2 million, according to the Arab count) live? Clause 5 states: "The process by which Palestinian refugees shall express their choice of a permanent place of residence shall be on the basis of a free and informed decision." This is confirmed by Clause 2, which states that refugee resettlement is "based on UN General Assembly Resolution 194," which, according to the Arab interpretation, gives every refugee the right to move to Israel.
Since this "peace initiative" has been presented on a non-negotiable basis, it is not hard to understand why the Israeli government has been less than enthusiastic.
It's the re-occupation
Sir, - Jews should be grateful to Jeff Halper for pointing out in his op-ed "Protecting human rights is never interference" (August 13) that Israel denies "that it even has an occupation (a position rejected by every country in the world, including its American patron)."
"Every country in the world" is a generalization, but it does sort of indicate how the UN General Assembly votes on matters regarding Israel.
The international community may succeed in its current (favorite) propensity for persecuting Jews, this time by means of sophisticated legal opposition to Israel's policies. However, the fact remains that history did not start with the UN, and the so-called "occupation" is in reality a "re-occupation" by Jews of their historical homeland.
Where are the children?
Sir, - Here in Bad Saarow, a little tourist town near Berlin, we have been working since 2007 to find inhabitants who were driven away and persecuted after January 1933. We've found 217 names of persons or families connected with Bad Saarow; 47 of them were murdered by the German Nazis.
In 1931, Bad Saarow had a home for needy Jewish children in Bismarckallee, headed by a professional staff. (The house was built by a famous architect, Werner Wittkower, who also designed buildings in Israel.) In 1938, during Kristallnacht, the home and its inhabitants were victims of fanatic German neighbors after the home was closed.
Its owner, Hartog Frank, emigrated to the US; a kindergarten teacher, Edeltraut Lapidas, went to Hannover and was later deported to the Stutthof concentration camp and murdered.
We would like to know something about the children. What happened to them? All our archival research has been without success. If any Post reader can help, kindly email me at (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Wendisch Rietz, Germany
Ink down the sink
Sir, - Re "Thousands of civilians sign SPNI pledge to save water" (August 12): Nice. But one hopes none of them signed with a fountain pen. That would have been a waste.
M.M. VAN ZUIDEN