January 11: Testing Time

Applying a standard intelligence test to Bush and Olmert's peace initiative could look like this:

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Testing time Sir, - I was thinking about the standard intelligence tests given to children throughout their school years. One of its elements is to look at a set of items and identify which one doesn't belong. Applying that test to the road map goals and to Bush's and Olmert's peace initiative with the Palestinians could look like this: Which item does not belong?
  • We will never give up the armed struggle until the Zionist entity is eliminated.
  • We will never recognize the State of Israel or its claims to any of Palestine.
  • A Jewish and Palestinian state, living as democracies side by side in peace, is within our immediate grasp. It will be good for all parties.
  • Arafat's dream to drive out the Jews is still alive, and it will be accomplished. ("Bush: This is a historic opportunity for peace," January 10.) KATHLEEN D. MITCHELL Jerusalem Dangerous argument Sir, - In his "Letter to a Serbian friend" (January 2), Prof. Shlomo Avineri urged the Serbians to accept the independence of the Albanian inhabitants of Kosovo. Stating that Kosovar Albanians constitute 90% of the population of Kosovo, Avineri argued that the unlimited right of self-determination ought to be applied to them, Serbian objections notwithstanding. To claim that an ethnic minority should have the right of self-determination simply because it constitutes a majority in a certain region of a sovereign state is a potentially dangerous argument. Imagine, for instance, that the Israeli Arab inhabitants who constitute a majority in certain areas of the Galilee were to demand an unbridled right of self-determination. How would Avineri react? According to his line of argument, the Israeli government should accept their demand. This example is certainly more pertinent to the case of Kosovo than the one advanced by Avineri of Judea and Samaria. After all, Kosovo is an integral part of the sovereign territory of Serbia, recognized as such by international law. Again, according to Avineri's line of argument, the Sudetenland should have been given the right to self-determination in 1938, as demanded by the Nazis, since the majority of its population was of German origin, even though the region was part of the sovereign territory of democratic Czechoslovakia. Let the Serbs and Kosovar Albanians negotiate the future of Kosovo in good faith, without undue outside pressure. Let us remember that the Albanians already have a sovereign state of their own. It is for the Serbs and Kosovar Albanians to agree to the establishment of a second Albanian state in the region, if they so wish. YOAV J. TENEMBAUM Tel Aviv Holy Scrabble Sir, - As a Scrabble addict, I greatly enjoyed Andrew Silow-Carroll's "Love is just a 7-point word" (January 8). My family all play Scrabble on Shabbat, and we score with playing cards, which are much less cumbersome than books. We use face-down cards as zeros. I hope this tip is useful to religious players. MILDRED WEGIER Givat Ze'ev