July 19: Settle the periphery

I hope the government will not obligate me to rent out my imaginary apartment below the market price determined by the laws of supply and demand.

By JERUSALEM POST READERS
July 18, 2011 23:17
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Settle the periphery

Sir, – Do the people who are fed up with high housing prices (“‘Revolt over rent’ launched in Tel Aviv,” July 17) think Israel is a socialist country? Most houses are owned by individuals or companies, and prices are determined by supply and demand. I don’t have an apartment for rent, but if I did I would rent it out at the highest price I could get.

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The protesters should convince people (and themselves) to live in the Negev or the Galilee, and convince the government to stimulate employment far from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. They should also put pressure on the government to improve access to the periphery and build homes there for rent.

I hope Israel will continue be a free and democratic country, and that the government will not obligate me to rent out my imaginary apartment below the market price determined by the laws of supply and demand.

JOSEPH M. SCHWARCZ
Ganei Omer

No way

Sir, – Daoud Kuttab (“The Palestinian third way,” Comment & Features, July 17) engages in historical revisionism similar to the now-infamous New York Times op-ed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

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Kuttab claims it is Israeli intransigence that has stopped the peace process despite the best efforts of the PA to prove itself worthy. He also makes the patently false claim that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s demand that Israel be recognized as a Jewish state is only an attempt to scuttle Palestinian statehood and peace talks.

The reality is quite different.

Netanyahu has stated he has no preconditions for talks, while Abbas has been the one avoiding negotiations. It is Abbas who has imposed preconditions, first demanding a full settlement freeze and now demanding that the pre-1967 boundaries be the starting point for talks.

To say the opposite, as Kuttab does, is to distort the facts.

GARY WILLIG
Safed

Sir, – Daoud Kuttab has selectively noted but distorted historical events affecting the search for a peaceful solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

• UN Resolution 181 called for the partition of British-ruled Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state. It was accepted by the Jews of Palestine but rejected by the Arabs of Palestine and by the Arab states.

Non-acceptance by the Arabs was followed by a declaration of war against the Jewish state.

• After the Six Day War, UN Resolution 242 never identified the 1949 ceasefire lines as the boundaries of Israel. The resolution called for an Israeli withdrawal from “territories” occupied in the recent conflict. No Palestinian state or entity was mentioned.

Kuttab should be reminded that peace negotiations proceeded up until 2008 and concluded with Abbas’s refusal to answer then-prime minister Olmert’s peace offer. Further, nowhere does Kuttab mention Hamas, which does not accept Salam Fayyad as a “model prime minister.”

ALBERT RETTIG
Tel Aviv

Sir, – Daoud Kuttab tends to pooh-pooh our prime minister’s insistence upon an overlapping of rights – recognition of Jewish national determination in return for recognition of Palestinian national determination. He also avoids discussion on the Palestinian’s demand for the right of return, although it is this issue that lies at the very heart of the conflict.

So I ask: Is Kuttab’s “diplomatic” UN approach toward the establishment of a Palestinian state just a “third way” to destroy Israel now that the other two ways – war and terrorism – have failed?

LILY POLLIACK
Jerusalem

Sir, – Had a Martian landed in the Middle East and read Daoud Kuttab’s article, his obvious conclusion would be that the peace-loving Palestinians are bending over backwards to reach an accord with the warmongering Israelis who won’t budge an inch. I myself didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Kuttab asserts that the Israeli prime minister has been left with the “lame excuse” that the Palestinians must recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Binyamin Netanyahu is willing to recognize a state for Palestinians – why can’t they in parallel do the same? Furthermore, the Palestinians could have had an even bigger state had they acquiesced to the 1947 partition plan, as Israel did. They missed that opportunity because what they really wanted was the whole shebang. But what’s done is done.

There are so many ridiculous assertions in Kuttab’s column that I can’t possibly address them all here, except to mention that through the years, Israel has made gesture after gesture to show good will. I am still waiting for one gesture from the PA.

NAOMI FEINSTEIN
Nordiya

Sir, – Daoud Kuttab observes that the unilateral statehood move at the UN “is perhaps the very last nonviolent effort that will be attempted in order to accomplish Palestinians’ inalienable right to self-determination.

If this path is blocked, there is no telling which route the Palestinians will take.”

English is my mother tongue and I’m pretty good at reading between the lines.

YONATAN SILVERMAN
Tel Aviv

Sir, – I might have understood Daoud Kuttab’s article had it appeared in a foreign publication, where readers often have no idea what’s really going on beyond their borders. But it was written for Israelis and it appeared in Israel.

Does Kuttab really think we’re so gullible, naive and misinformed?

ARI BEN-SENDER
Jerusalem

Setting an example

Sir, – The Post deserves praise for opposing recent Knesset legislation (“The bad boycott bill,” Editorial, July 12).

Suppose Alabama had outlawed Martin Luther King, Jr.’s boycott of the Montgomery, Alabama, bus system. Yet this “bad” bill is even more fundamental – it would be as if Alabama had also revoked the freedom of Alabamans to discuss and debate among themselves the pros and cons of the bus boycott.

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin recently wrote in one of Israel’s Hebrew dailies: “Woe betide the Jewish democratic state that turns freedom of expression into a civil offense, and woe betide Knesset members who hoped to produce good grapes, but instead produced rotten fruit, to paraphrase the words of the Prophet Isaiah.”

Thank heavens for the sake of Israel’s reputation that Rivlin joined the Post on the right side of history. If only the rest of Israel would follow your example.

JAMES ADLER
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Put back the corks
Sir, – The announcement that a University of Johannesburg scientist signed an individual agreement with a researcher at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (U. of Johannesburg signs agreement with BGU months after cutting ties, July 10) should not be cause for celebration.

Some media reports, the South African Jewish Board of Deputies and, it seems, BGU itself want us to believe that this new agreement overturns UJ’s academic boycott of Israel. The agreement only cements it! UJ’s deputy vice chancellor Adam Habib said himself that the new agreement was between individuals and therefore consistent with the UJ boycott.

I find it difficult to understand why BGU is celebrating. Why should Israeli researchers here not benefit from an official institutional agreement like researchers from other countries? Why should its researchers settle for second-class individual agreements rather than an official institutional partnership?

JANE SCHWARTZ
Johannesburg

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