July 9: Look elsewhere

Short-lived polonium 210 is “fed” by the beta decay of bismuth 210 from lead 210; Arafat’s clothing should be tested for this.

July 8, 2012 22:22

Look elsewhere

Sir, – Regarding “Polonium found on Arafat’s clothing was ‘planted,’ says counterterrorism expert” (July 6), that isotope does have a 138-day half-life, and so in eight years essentially none would remain. However, this short-lived polonium 210 is “fed” by the beta decay of bismuth 210 from lead 210, which has a 20-year half-life. If this long-lived lead 210 is present, that would account for the presence of the polonium. As such, Arafat’s clothing should be tested for lead 210.

The writer has a PhD in physics and earth sciences

The consequences

Sir, – In his latest piece (“The honorable thing to do,” Into the Fray, July 6), Martin Sherman suggests that Post columnist Gershon Baskin has an obligation to spell out the consequences of the two-state solution he advocates.

What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

I should like to see Sherman give a little concentrated thought to the likely consequences of Israel annexing Judea and Samaria.

For starters, world opinion in general could surely never accede to or endorse a land-grab of this sort by Israel, nor the flagrant violation of the Oslo Accords it would represent. Israel would delegitimize itself. It would be roundly condemned by friend and foe alike and lay itself open to punitive economic, commercial and financial sanctions, if nothing worse.

Sherman points out that the major Palestinian organizations have the annihilation of Israel in their founding documents. It is no secret that an ideal Middle East, from the Muslim point of view, would contain no Jewish state. Many Arab politicians cling to this aspiration to retain their appeal to the hotheads among their followers.

Polls of Palestinian opinion, however, reveal a different picture.

The majority of Palestinians now accept that Israel is here to stay and yearn for a happy, peaceful and reasonably prosperous life. According to the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion, in a recent poll conducted in the West Bank and Gaza only 13.5 percent of those questioned thought that “violent action” was the best way to end the occupation and establish a Palestinian State. No less than 84.4% of those questioned thought that when their children were their own age there would “definitely,” “possibly” or “likely” be peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.

In his various articles, Sherman takes little account of the effect on the Arab world in general, or on Palestinian opinion in particular, of removing forever the hope of an eventual sovereign Palestine.

The aspiration may not have much age or legitimacy to it, but it is certainly now a political reality.

To my mind stamping it out of existence would be a recipe for a “1984” scenario of constant, unending conflict in the region, with no hope of resolution. Is that the future he seeks for Israel and the Middle East? It is certainly not what most Israelis or Palestinians want.

Beit Shemesh

Sir, – I am a regular reader of Martin Sherman’s columns and identify with his views.

A two-state solution was put in place many years ago by the British government when it established Transjordan east of the River Jordan as a home for the Arabs, alongside a home for the Jews between the river and the Mediterranean.

On Page 19 of his 1956 book A Crackle of Thorns, Sir Alec Kirkbride, Britain's first ambassador to Amman, wrote: “At the time of the issue of this [Palestine] mandate, His Majesty’s government were too busy to be bothered about the remote and undeveloped areas which lay to the east of the river, which were intended to serve as a reserve of land for use in the resettlement of Arabs once the national home for the Jews in Palestine, which they [the British government] were pledged to support, became an accomplished fact.”

There is no need for a third state in Judea and Samaria!


Cheaper there

Sir, – Jay Bushinsky (“Where is the political follow-up?,” Observations, July 6) suggests an alternative to the moribund two-state solution: one state. This would incorporate the Palestinians into Israel, with political rights.

A better idea would be to annex Area C, which is the majority of the land; it includes all the Jews and has a small Palestinian population. Those Palestinians who don’t want Israeli citizenship could receive residency permits, like in east Jerusalem, or be compensated for leaving.

Regarding the $8 billion “poured into” Judea and Samaria, I calculate the cost per Israeli resident to be less than $2,000. What would have been the cost to house half a million Israelis within the Green Line?

Alfei Menashe

Preferring not to

Sir, – Hirsh Goodman tells us: “Time for Israel to join the world” (PostScript, July 6). Well, thanks but no thanks.

Goodman seems to mean getting into the good books of the UN, the madhouse that is about to elect Syria a member of its Human Rights Council, and to do so by tarting up hasbara (public diplomacy), not burying it as Goodman states with a “flood” of self-congratulatory messages. I’d prefer not to.

Or he may mean getting more friendly with Europe – where anti-Semitism is quickly climbing to its 1930s-level. Or perhaps the idea is to engage in weighty ideological discussions with the Western intelligentsia, who are obsessed with the evil committed in the creation of Israel and how to reverse it. Not for me.

We should, of course, continue with sound relations with individual states but stay as distant as diplomatically possible from “the world,” as Goodman sees it. We would serve Israel better by turning our energies inward, rebuilding the early spirit that got us where we are now, as Caroline Glick put it so well in her column, adjacent to Goodman’s, on the late Yitzhak Shamir (“Shamir’s good, great life,” Column One).

Once we are again clear on where we are going, “the world” may be inclined to join us.


Sir, – Hirsh Goodman suggests we get over our persecution complex and join the world community by being more positive and involved. He believes that when the civilized world spits in our face we should believe it when it tells us it’s raining.

Goodman forgets that the world is motivated by geopolitics and parochial interests. When Israel becomes energy-independent and petroleum becomes irrelevant because of electric cars, the world will then change its attitude toward the Jewish state. Not before.

Petah Tikva

Tell us how

Sir, – I admire and have great respect for Rabbi Barry Schlesinger (“A stranger in their midst,” Observations, June 29) but have one problem in regard to the way he ended his piece.

By simply saying, “It’s our job! The people of Israel – all of us together!,” he leaves us without a suggestion of what to do, where to go, how we go about it.

When the rabbi wrote that we are to act, he should have offered us some guidelines.


Not its job

Sir, – I was surprised to read “Jewish Agency team to help raise funds for Diaspora security” (July 4).

It would be better to make representation to the respective governments in the Diaspora and point out to them their duty to provide proper security for their citizens, including their Jewish communities.

The Jewish Agency should concentrate its efforts on increasing aliya.


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