June 15: Too late, baby

The fact is, the Foreign Ministry has no strategy worth the name for combating the Palestinian statehood effort.

By JERUSALEM POST READERS
June 14, 2011 23:39
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Too late, baby

Sir, – Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon’s statements cannot be sustained by the plain facts, and his last-minute, last ditch effort to change minds was completely frivolous (“Ayalon: Latin American countries are having second thoughts about PA’s UN statehood bid,” June 13).

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There is no evidence he changed anything.

The fact is, the Foreign Ministry has no strategy worth the name for combating the Palestinian statehood effort. Only now, indeed at the last minute, only months before the fateful General Assembly vote, is the ministry barely lifting a finger to address this critical issue.

There is no explanation or justification for not doing a thing for two years, since 2009, when the Palestinians launched their initiative.

Like anything done at the last minute, what the Foreign Ministry is doing now is doomed to failure.

The Palestinian push for unilateral statehood in the UN is so hostile, it is essentially a declaration of war against Israel. Diplomacy is supposed to avert war, but the Foreign Ministry’s apathy has opened the door to conflict in September.

YONATAN SILVERMAN
Tel Aviv



Lost at sea

Sir, – Ann Ighe (“Who we are and what we seek,” Right of Reply, June 13) makes a series of claims that are not true.

She asserts, without a shred of evidence, that “the blockade is unjust and a violation of human rights.” And again, “not only is the blockade not legitimate – it is illegal.”

I believe if she had even a modicum of knowledge about international law, and the slightest degree of intellectual integrity, she would desist from such patently false assertions.

In “The moralist” (Editor’s Notes, April 22), Asa Kasher, a professor of philosophy at Tel Aviv University, perhaps the clearest thinker about justice and morality when states are threatened or attacked, demonstrates most convincingly that “the sea blockade... is unquestionably legitimate according to all the laws of war at sea....”

But then, those who hold such passionate, self-righteous views rarely, if ever, feel that they themselves need to be bothered by the facts.

HARVEY LITHWICK
Meitar

Sir, – Ann Ighe has written a very noble-sounding explanation.

She writes that the blockade of Gaza is an injustice and violation of the human rights of the Gazan people.

The blockade undoubtedly hinders the import and export of needed goods, but this is not its intent. Rather, the objective is to reduce the import of weapons meant to kill Israelis. Isn’t that the ultimate objective of Hamas and seemingly the majority of Gazans? Does she believe that if Israel lifts the blockade, the Gazans won’t import weapons? Does she believe that all they are interested in is peaceful co-existence and that Israel only wants to cause suffering? Isn’t she aware of the constant incitement and attempts to legitimize Israel? It is truly unfortunate that the Palestinians and Israelis are in a state of war. In war people suffer, and Israel wants nothing more than peace and to end this situation.

Will the flotilla and its supporters change the situation? Will the flotilla actually benefit the masses of Palestinians, or will it only facilitate the continuation of hostility?

RON BELZER
Petah Tikva

 Sir, – Ann Ighe decries the actions of many to legitimize her organization, which is sponsoring the next Gaza flotilla. She claims that its goals are sincere in bringing humanitarian aid to ensure that Gazans enjoy the “right to trade, to travel, to build, to develop their society.”

Her implications by constantly using the word “blockade” are that there is a complete shutdown of goods and services to Gaza. I would like to point out that Israel sends an average of 15 tons of supplies per week into Hamas-run Gaza. In addition, she might want to read “A year after ‘Mavi Marmara,’ life is better in Gaza” in the same issue of the Post. There, Omer Ghraieb speaks about the fact that most commodities are plentiful.

The only blockade at work is the blockade of proper information as to what truly is the situation in Gaza: a sliver of land that is ruled by a group of recognized terrorists being supplied daily by those they are sworn to destroy.

Happy sailing.

ZE’EV M. SHANDALOV
Ma’aleh Adumim

 Sir, – How can Ann Ighe be sure weapons are not hidden in the cargo? Has she personally checked all of it? Would she recognize a missile launcher if it were brought in unassembled? There is no justification for unsupervised supplies to pour into Gaza when Israel has made it clear it will allow in all humanitarian supplies after they have been inspected. Let’s hope the organizers of the flotilla will wake up to the fact that unless they moderate their political agenda, many more people may pay the price with their lives.

PAUL BERMAN
Shoham

 Sir, – Having nothing but respect for those human rights organizations that work unceasingly for the underprivileged, persecuted and poverty-stricken millions on our planet, I want answers as to why Gaza, which everyone knows has to come to the table to discuss a political solution for its future, has such a high profile? Why not Darfur, Somalia, Zimbabwe and other places too many to mention, where wholesale slaughter and rape are taking place?

ZELDA HARRIS
Tel Aviv

 Sir, – Any sane, informed person reading “Who we are and what we seek” has to say Ugh to Ighe.

She is playing hide and seek with the truth; she won’t even peek at it. There is so much left out, but far worse are the lies, such as calling the blockade illegal.

BARRY WEISS
Jerusalem

Dame disappoints

 Sir, – I read the concert review of Kiri Te Kanawa’s performance (“Classical review, Arts & Entertainment, June 6) and the recent letter to the editor that was critical of the review (“Get some culture,” June 13).

I cannot agree with either. I found both to be irrelevant to the actual performance! Having been there myself, I was very disappointed. First of all, a perusal of the program was startling. Te Kanawa chose to do only very short pieces so that she sang altogether at least 16, the longest being Rachmaninoff’s beautiful “Vocalise.” Second, her performance was subdued and unemotional. You would have never known from her calm, cool rendition that Mozart’s “Chi sa, chi sa” was an anguished response to a lover’s suspicions.

She brought along a young baritone who sang more demanding material with brio and emotion. However, this was a sad swan song of a concert by a formerly great Te Kanawa.

ROCHELLE EISSENSTAT
Jerusalem

Al was Machal

 Sir, – In “US-born IAI founder Al Schwimmer dies at 94” (June 12), Yaakov Katz made no reference to Schwimmer being a member of Machal, the group of 4,793 volunteers (men and women, Jews and non-Jews) from 58 countries who helped Israel in its War of Independence.

Al’s contribution to the war effort was absolutely unique. In my judgement, had it not been for Al, it’s extremely doubtful as to whether Israel would have survived.

After the war, “Al’s fleet of aircraft” formed the nucleus of the newborn El Al Israel Airlines.

David Ben-Gurion once stated: “The Machal forces were the Diaspora’s most important contribution to the survival of the State of Israel.” Al Schwimmer made a unique contribution toward Israel’s victory. It was indeed his finest hour.

SMOKY SIMON
Tel Aviv
The writer is chairman of World Machal

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