letters to the editor 88.
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Who's afraid of peace?
Sir, - Oddly without indignation, David Kimche reports Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa's condescending "I invite Israel not to be afraid of peace." Someone should have told Moussa to his face that there is not a single Israeli afraid of peace, but millions of us afraid of treachery, which has so far been the consistent result of every agreement purporting to offer Israel a measure of peace from the Arabs.
After signing an agreement with Israel, when an Arab government merely ignores its promises of cultural ties, persecutes its citizens for visiting Israel and builds up its army but does not launch all-out war, the Israeli government considers itself lucky.
To this we have come - not because our leaders are afraid of peace, but because they are blinded by enthusiasm at even the most mendacious promise of it ("The promise offered by Madrid," January 26).
MARK L. LEVINSON
Stand by for bombardment
Sir, - We are going to be bombarded once again by the heavily financed and well-connected leftists who gave us the bloody Oslo Accord and tragic withdrawal from Gush Katif. This band of losers now want us to abandon the Golan ("New public forum will pressure government to talk with Syria," January 28).
What is wrong with the arrangement we now have with the Syrians? They lost the Golan when they attacked us. We annexed the Golan and there haven't been hostilities between us since.
I don't understand what there is to talk about - except why these Jews are representing Syrian interests.
Can't do nothin'
Sir, - In "What Arabs can do" (Upfront, January 19), Saul Singer asks: "What can be done to help the Palestinians take 'yes' for an answer?"
Mr. Singer answers his own question by stating that we tried Oslo in 1993, Camp David in 2000 and disengagement in 2005. The Arabs have proven that no matter what we offer they are not interested in peace as we define it.
Sir, - When MJ Rosenberg fired off his column "Why not realism?" (UpFront, January 19), he ironically revealed his own cavalier attitude toward reality: claiming that Israel today has the option of an agreement with the Palestinians that includes "ironclad guarantees of security from [them] and the rest of the Arab world."
Such talk by pre-Oslo era withdrawal supporters might have been excused as naivete, but today it's something much worse.
DR. AARON LERNER
Key puzzle piece
Sir, - As a 14-year-old American Jew looking at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict I realize my perspective may be idealistic. However, here's my proposal: an international city of Jerusalem, run by the UN. Muslims, Christians and Jews - everyone who considers this a holy city - would share in the forces charged with Jerusalem's safety. Israel would sacrifice its capital, but it would not lose access to the city, and it would be gaining the respect of the world.
Until the Palestinian government recognizes Israel and renounces terror, I realize this cannot work. But let us not despair of our generation seeing peace in the Middle East. The Israeli-Palestinian solution is the key puzzle piece to all Middle-Eastern conflicts.
Soldiers' safety first
Sir, - Aside from the long list of leaders proceeding through the portals of our judicial system, we have to cope with a leadership that claims collateral damage can be avoided if our soldiers fight door-to-door in the next battle.
My children learned from me never to start a fight - but if attacked, they're to let loose till they win. In the next war their children will be fighting, but with new rules of engagement, they'll be more likely to be killed than to kill. Gaining control on the ground has to follow a blistering blitz.
In "Where Israel went astray" (January 19) Caroline Glick wrote that our electoral system treats the entire country as a unitary voting district, and calls for direct district-based voting. This would give me, and millions of parents like me, the power to rally my Knesset representative to lobby for a fighting policy that will put our soldiers' safety first, rather than worrying about causing collateral damage to an enemy that has been known repeatedly to place its women and children in the line of fire.
Our soldiers sleep in barracks; many of those we fight sleep at home.
Public Action Campaign
Perk vs people
Sir, - I find it pitiful to watch Shimon Peres on TV explaining why the law should be changed for him. He has survived in politics too long and has never won an election in his own right. If it was not for the bad state of the whole election system in this country he would never have been elected to any post. It is time the presidency was returned to the people instead of being another politicians' perk ("MKs to vote on 'Peres Bill' for open vote on presidency," January 28).
Sir, - "Hebrew University debaters talk themselves to a title" (January 25) reported that Elchanan Miller and I won at the recent World Universities Debating Championship, or "Worlds," the primary debating competition in the world.
Elchanan and I were indeed fortunate enough to achieve an exhilarating success at the tournament, one all Israelis can feel proud of, especially the university and Israel's debating community, without whom we could not have achieved what we did.
However, it is not accurate to state that we "won" in our category. Rather, we placed first. After the main body of the competition, Worlds employs a series of single knockout rounds to determine the winner, and thus the top-ranked team rarely ends up formally winning the event.
The credit for winning in our category goes to the third-ranked team, Syed Suhaib Hassan and Tasniem Ahmab Elyass from the International Islamic University of Malaysia, who put in an excellent performance in the final and justly beat us to the title.
Debating teaches one to listen to one's opponents and give a fair hearing to opinions one doesn't agree with - skills that would be very welcome in our country and could go a long way toward solving some of our most difficult national problems.
And I doubt if that's open to debate.
Maxi charge for Mini-Israel
Sir, - I visited Mini Israel in Latrun at the beginning of January and was disgusted to find that my children, aged eight, 10 and 12, were adults for ticketing purposes. I paid NIS 15 for my five-year-old - then NIS 65 each for myself and the other three children.
Can a parent turn around and declare, "No, it's too expensive" after building expectation and enthusiasm for the visit? Such an arbitrary age determination discriminates against large families, and stooping to this level to boost profits is despicable.
"Uri Dan's last year," which appeared in the opinion pages on January 25, was translated by Jonathan Spector.