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.
Jerusalem 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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Sir, – I
am a regular reader of Martin Sherman’s columns and identify with his
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
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
There is no need for a third state in Judea and Samaria!
Jerusalem 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
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
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
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).
are again clear on where we are going, “the world” may be inclined to join
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
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
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.
Jerusalem 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
The Jewish Agency should concentrate its efforts on