May 15: Conscience over duty

There cannot be any sensible statecraft in supporting Hamas-Fatah reconciliation.

May 14, 2011 23:04

letters. (photo credit: JP)


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Conscience over duty

Sir, – That British ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould should endorse and explain his prime minister’s views on the advantages of the reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah is understandable (“Sensible statecraft,” Right of Reply, May 12).

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He is simply doing his duty to his country. However, the naïveté (or is it ignorance?) displayed by his article is evidenced by his failure to acknowledge that Hamas, even after the signing of the agreement, continues to assert that its eventual aim is the elimination of the Jewish state. Thus, there cannot be any sensible statecraft in supporting this reconciliation.

An article on the same page by Melanie Phillips (“An open letter to Prime Minister David Cameron”) sets out much more accurately the role that has been played, and indeed continues to be played, by British governments in facilitating the aims of Palestinian leaders to the detriment of Israel. I have no doubt that Gould will read this article and that it will prick his own conscience, especially as he is Jewish.

Tel Mond

Terror vs. terror
Sir, – In “There’s no double standard” (Rattling the Cage, May 12), Larry Derfner does not distinguish between terrorists and legitimate countries that have signed the Geneva Convention. It appears that targeted assassinations of terrorist leaders who have not signed the convention is becoming an accepted means of combat.

Hamas is a terrorist entity, without a doubt. Through trial and experimentation, I expect to see international laws and rules evolve for defining terrorism and how suspects and countries harboring these organizations are treated.


Until that day arrives, Israel and the US, which appear to be the main targets of these unlawful and hideous organizations, will do what they feel is necessary to protect their citizens. Morality should be met with morality. Terror should be met with terror without having to apologize to anyone.


Appropriate or not

Sir, – It is forbidden to judge those in mourning, so it behooves us all to ignore the more extreme insults and threats of those grieving for the captivity of Gilad Schalit (“Noam Schalit: We may be forced to step up our campaign,” May 11). This does not, however, absolve the government of its national responsibility.

Paying a price means suffering some harm to the state and its citizens. Paying any price is obviously absurd since it implies an unlimited amount of damage.

It is an awesome task to weigh just how much damage will balance the benefit of ransoming our soldier. Let us hope this current government is equal to the job.

Tel Aviv

Sir, – My heart goes out to the Schalit family and the families of the others of our nation and their families who are still hopeful for their sons,’ husbands’ or fathers’ return. Still, we must not succumb to the temptation to free terrorists as the price to pay.

In 2007, in a report released by the Jewish Agency, Elyakim Rubenstein wrote that 180 Israeli citizens had been murdered by released terrorists since 2000, and “that does not include those who were killed during the intifada, which was led and supported by released terrorists.” I’m sure the number has increased since then.

I agree with Yoel Schalit. His brother’s captivity should not be trivialized, but neither should that of the other captive soldiers.

Our sages said that whoever prays for others has his personal prayers answered first. I suggest the Schalits pray for all the captured Israeli soldiers and that they not press the government to release terrorists in exchange for Gilad. Pressure should be placed upon Hamas, Fatah and their terror partners, not on the Israeli government.


Sir, – We get it, Schalit family – you want Gilad to come home.

We all want Gilad to come home, but it’s not the Israeli government that is the obstacle here. It’s the Palestinians, it’s Hamas. Direct your righteous anger at the bad guys.

Yes, the Israeli government could probably win the release of Schalit, but at the expense of hundreds of Israeli lives. That’s a losing hand for Israel.

So suck it up Schalits and pipe down – Gilad won’t be the first or last Israeli who is lost in this perpetual war, which only ends when and if Israel decides to allow itself to win.

Highland Park, New Jersey

Leave Pollard out Sir, – I watched the various Remembrance Day and Independence Day ceremonies with great pride and emotion. There were many moving speeches and prayers.

I had one problem, though. In expressing hope for the release of our MIAs, they were linked with a convicted spy imprisoned in the US (“Israelis out in force for Independence Day celebrations,” May 11).

I think it is a travesty of justice and morality to include brave citizens who were defending our beloved country in the same breath as someone who betrayed his country. I very sincerely hope and pray that all our soldiers will return safely in the coming year, but if not, the mistake of considering Pollard among their number should not be repeated.


Onus on Israel?

Sir, – Issa Edward Bourshes asks the innocuous question: Can Israel embrace its Palestinian- Israeli citizens? (“Independence Day and the ‘Nakba Law,’” Comment & Features, May 9). Actually the question is the other way around.

From the November day in 1947 when the Arab and Muslim world ignored the United Nations and international law, and declared genocidal war on a nascent state, it has been the Arabs who need to do some embracing.

During the 19 years that “Palestine” was under Arab rule, there wasn’t a single peep or voice or movement toward a state for “Palestinians” – mainly because they didn’t exist.

Bourshes needs to answer this question: Where was Palestine between 1947-1967? Israeli Arabs need to cease living a lie. Only then their own healing process will begin.

Rosh Pina

Sir, – Is there a nation in the world that would permit and subsidize a day of mourning for its sworn enemies to coincide with its independence day? The fact that Issa Edward Bourshes is a graduate student at Tel Aviv University should show what an open, understanding and tolerant country he resides in.

Wouldn’t it be nice for American indians to celebrate their own Nakba Day” with support from the US government? How acceptable would that be for the citizens of the United States?


Sir, – It is all to easy to conclude all discussion on the Nakba with accusations of Jewish/Zionist/Israeli responsibility.

One could easily come to believe that the Palestinian people have absolutely no control or responsibility over their lives and the destiny of their nation.

Still, I must admit to being pleasantly surprised and encouraged by Issa Edward Bourshes’s personal integrity in that he acknowledged and even quoted the words and intentions of the Jewish leadership and inhabitants of the future state of Israel. So now that we know what the Jews thought and said, I leave it to him to share with us the insights and decelerations of his people, so we can better understand the origin of the catastrophe he and his community suffered.

Hopefully, they will come to understand the full and true reasons for all these years of suffering, anguish and exile.


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