(photo credit: Courtesy)
Caved in? No
Sir, - When PM Netanyahu dropped the proposed VAT tax on vegetables, the media reported that he once again "caved in to pressure."
What does the media say about President Obama dropping the option of government-run medical insurance as part of a new health care system? "Caved in" - or just realized that he does not have the votes to win?
Ditto Netanyahu. Neither leader caved in ("Obama, facing skepticism on health care reform, revives campaign tactics," August 16).
Gotta laugh, baby
Sir, - Isi Liebler, as usual, is on the mark when he lambastes the hatred of Evangelical Christians that is the fevered enterprise of America's liberals, Jewish and Christian ("Evangelicals: An appreciation," August 17). Perhaps this pathology is rooted in the liberals' semiconscious realization that their demographic days are numbered.
While liberal pastors and rabbis preach to empty pews and claim to speak on behalf of long-alienated constituencies, Evangelical churches and Orthodox synagogues are bursting at the seams, their corridors serving as packed parking lots for baby carriages.
One can debate the merits of the unholy trinity of church-state separation, gay rights and abortion rights. But one thing is indisputable: None of these polemical pillars of post-modernism produce babies. Indeed the birthrate among liberals (intermarriage aside) is insufficient even to tread demographic water.
The ultimate irony, of course, is that the "creation vs evolution" chasm places liberals in the laughable position of believing in "survival of the fittest" even as they evaporate, while the "fundamentalist Neanderthals" they so detest inherit the earth.
Why wail about this independence?
Sir, - "Israeli-issued visas for 'Palestine Areas Only' enrages, frustrates foreign visitors" (August 17) told us people are complaining about this "violation of international law."
All the supporters of Palestinian rights cry for the establishment of two states. Yet now that Israel's prime minister has, apparently, accepted the idea of two states, these same people are upset at its partial implementation.
If the Palestinians want their own state, they will have to have their own visas and permits. Israel is giving the PA a limited independence by letting it have its own visas. The people who want to go to one authority are not automatically entitled to go to another authority.
It seems these Palestinian supporters want an independent authority - but to be still under Israeli jurisdiction.
In Gaza, controlled by a Palestinian authority, there is no automatic visa to that area and Israel, so why should there be one for the area known as the West Bank, also managed by the Palestinians?
Sir, - Judy Bamberger O'Connor speaks for our minorities, so she too might identify the donors who support her endeavor, as does J Street. That would be nicely newsworthy ("News or hysteria?" Letters, August 17).
Now's the chance
Sir, - Re "Former terrorist to testify in support of Scottish anti-Israel activists on trial" (August 14): Leila Khaled was arrested at Heathrow Airport in 1970 and held in custody for hijacking an El Al aircraft. Edward Heath's government never formally charged her, and she was the first hijack terrorist worldwide to be released.
This was one - if not the first - incidence of the British government giving in to terrorism. Khaled must now not be permitted to enter the UK unless she is arrested and charged retrospectively with airline hijacking.
If the UK administration can apply legislation to arrest IDF generals and senior officers on charges of "war crimes" when they land at Heathrow, how much more so should they have arrested Khaled on her earlier visits to the UK! Now they have their opportunity.
COLIN L. LECI
Two or three states?
Sir, - Re "Israel reassures Jordan: We won't make you Palestine" (August 12): At a basic level, both Israel and Jordan are constituent parts of historic Palestine, with the Israeli-administered territories in between. Hashemite Beduin Jordan, with its Palestinian majority, has no interest in democracy, whereby "destruction by the ballot" could turn the country into a further Hamastan. Nor does Israel want such a disastrous outcome. These facts help elucidate two issues:
First, it is critically important that Israel continue to insist on Palestinian-PLO acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state. If the PLO wants Israel to accept a third state in Palestine between the sea and the Arabian desert, it should pay by accepting Israel as a Jewish state. Let the PLO renounce its claim that "Israel is Palestine."
The Hashemite Beduin elite understands the danger better than many Israelis, knowing that after "Israel is Palestine," the PLO will claim "Jordan is Palestine."
Second, Jordan will not wait for the other sandal to fall. If a third state is created in historic Palestine between Israel and Jordan, we will soon most likely witness Amman expanding its disenfranchisement of its own Palestinian subjects. Amman may then oblige many of them to move to that state.
The end game may be Intifada III, with many more militants to challenge any US-brokered compromise between the two sides.
A two-state (Israel and Jordan) or three-state (Israel, PLO State and Jordan) solution is thus far from a simple matter, going way beyond the issue of "demilitarization."
Sir, - Where did this rumor about transferring Arabs from Judea and Samaria to Jordan originate? Certainly not with MK Arye Eldad. True, he stated in the Knesset that they should be given Jordanian citizenship, but he does not talk about "transfer" and "evicting Palestinians to Jordan." He proposes that the Arabs of Judea, Samaria and Gaza continue to live where they are now, as citizens of Jordan. No one, Arab or Jew, would be uprooted.
The Palestinian Arabs would then elect their local governments, which would legislate local ordinances, and vote for the national parliament sitting in Amman. They would enjoy all the rights of Jordanian citizens while living in Israel, with equal rights before Israeli law and in Israeli courts.
The Arabs of Judea, Samaria and Gaza cling to the land; there is no likelihood they would leave it to rush, en masse, into Jordan. Palestinians living in Arab countries would have to receive citizenship in those countries.
Supported by the Jordanian Army, the king would rule in Jordan. And Israel would remain a Jewish and democratic country.
Sir, - May I correct two points in "Secular scholarship" (my interview with Ruthie Blum Leibowitz, August 13): The teaching of Judaism as culture in the US is in over 30 (not 13) universities; and in Israel, there are now over 60 (not 16) schools teaching Judaism as culture.
Sir, - Re Pinchas Landau's "Whether pigs have wings" (Business and Finance, August 14): I would point out that in 2009, swine flu.