letters to the editor 88.
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Sir, - About President Bush's speech on the Palestinian-Israeli situation: I don't think there's any need to go into great detail about what he said. Why? Because all it amounts to are pipe-dreams ("Bush proposes int'l parley on two-state solution," July 17).
The elected Palestinian government is Hamas, which now controls Gaza from the barrel of a gun. Mahmoud Abbas and the "government" he represents have no mandate from their people. So Bush's talk about negotiations with the Palestinian government and achievement of peace through mutual concessions (or whatever) is hot air.
Who can envision a Palestinian state in the West Bank alone, governed by the mandate-less Abbas and Co.? Gaza will remain a hornet's nest for the foreseeable future, with Iranian participation. Bush's pitch about progress toward peace with Abbas made me shake my head in disbelief.
Bush and now also Olmert are pretending that Abbas has a form with which one can deal. But he isn't even a figurehead, he's a ghost. Ectoplasm.
...going nowhere fast
Sir, - President Bush's call for a Mideast peace conference is premature. The timing could not be worse, since its announcement, coming on the heels of Hamas's victory in Gaza, gives an impression of desperation, and desperate people make very bad bargainers.
The wiser course would be to show patience, first demand the release of the Israeli hostages and a cessation of Kassam attacks from Gaza. A review of UN resolution 1701 would also be in order, coupled with a demand that the rearming of Hizbullah must cease.
Instead, when all the above loose ends are added to the unresolved Iraqi situation, the impression is one of carelessness, weakness and a rush to go nowhere fast.
Gone with the wind
Sir, - "The best way the US and the Arab states could help Palestinians escape their radicalization spiral is to take the wind out of the radical dream of Israel's destruction. This can be done by saying explicitly that Palestine and the Arab states, not Israel, are the solution to the refugee problem" ("Break the code," Editorial, July 17).
This is the best summarization of the issue that I've seen.
Grades of terror
Sir, - By being willing to allow into Eretz Yisrael Nayef Hawatmeh, who arranged the murder of dozens of our teenagers in 1974, Ehud Olmert has broken through another Israeli barrier and is very close to freeing Samir Kuntar, who murdered the Haran family, also around that time. He apparently feels that the younger generation anyway doesn't know about events that happened three decades ago.
And why does the PM have to free those 250 terrorists within Judea and Samaria? Can't he free them to an Arab country where there are no Jews for them to kill?
Any Israelis subsequently targeted by these freed terrorists can feel good that they have been attacked by members of "moderate" Fatah and not by the extreme terrorists of Hamas. That should give them consolation in their hospital beds, God forbid ("The joke's on us," Caroline B. Glick, July 17).
Bullied by the Wakf...
Sir, - What are the names of the policemen guarding the Temple Mount site, and who gave them their orders to stop archeologists from collecting "even one stone" from the Islamic dig? What are the license numbers of all the vehicles involved in the construction, who are their owners/operators, and how did they get on site? These vehicles must be confiscated since they are operating on an illegal/unlicensed construction site.
Kudos to the Post for taking the initiative with "Temple Mount travesty" (Editorial, July 15). I call on any responsible, Jerusalem-based group to organize a series of protests, and trust they will be well publicized by the media.
All citizens who have had enough of the brazen Arab behavior toward our holy sites - the destruction of Joseph's Tomb, of the Hurva synagogue, on the Mt. of Olives cemetery, and now this - must rise to the occasion. It is an opportunity for Arkady Gaydamak, who wishes to be the next mayor of Jerusalem, to show his mettle.
We did not return to Zion to be bullied by the Wakf.
Sir, - Since when did Israel relinquish sovereignty over Jerusalem and its holy sites? The agreement we made with the Wakf after the Six Day War was for it to be responsible for Islamic holy sites on the Temple Mount; but this did not give it the right to destroy Jewish archeological finds. It seems to me that by its actions the Wakf has abrogated this agreement, and the time has come for Israel to assert its absolute rule over this particular site.
HAIM M. LERNER
Meshing of traditions
Sir, - Ash Perez very confidently makes statements which are questionable ("The non-Ashkenazi view," Letters, July 15).
"The non-Orthodox movements, for all their talk of inclusiveness, have no place for the non-Ashkenazi Jew." In the community I belong to there was a deliberate choice of the Rinat Yisrael prayer book because it is acceptable to both Ashkenazim and Sephardim. It works because the members - those who are Ashkenazi in origin and and those who are Sephardi in origin - prefer accommodating to our living together in Israel over clinging rigidly to divisive Diaspora traditions.
"The average Mizrahi Jew is traditional and favors retaining Orthodoxy as the normative form of Judaism." On what basis does Mr. Perez say that? True, the Sephardi synagogues have Sephardi congregations - but what about those Sephardim who have voted with their feet and decline to enter the synagogue at all?
Hasbara isn't enough
Sir, - The new coordinator for the communication efforts of government ministries has barely got his seat warm and Anshel Pfeffer is already offering "Advice to new hasbara czar" (July 13).
In terms of the battle for hearts and minds that we are facing, we need to get out of the "hasbara" mode of thinking. Hasbara is a negative term implying that we need to explain our actions. The recognized term for these activities is "public diplomacy."
Pfeffer suggests that "blatantly imbalanced and biased reports" be left to the local advocacy groups to deal with. As a significant advocacy group, we cannot do our job well in many cases without input from government circles. A recent case in point was the charge that Israel had cut off water to the Dehaishe refugee camp. We were able to reply to this charge only through information received by "proteksia" instead of through official government channels.
Mr. Pfeffer seems focused on dealing with issues on a reactive basis, but it really is about time we started looking at opportunities for proactive messages.
Israeli Citizens Action Network
Sir, - I wish to commend the pieces by Matthew Krieger in your business section. His succinct style renders the items a pleasant read, and their subjects easy to understand ("Closure of Karni crossing is taking economic toll," July 16).