‘Soft’ int’l law
Sir, – Sunday’s Jerusalem Post reported two examples of the dangerous phenomenon of “soft” international law – the ease with which principles of international law are deliberately misstated, so that Israel can be accused of violating them, and so that our history can be denied.
First, with regard to the Palestinian refugees, Saeb Erekat is quoted as saying “the right of return was legitimate in accordance with international law and UN resolutions, first and foremost [General Assembly] Resolution 194” (“PA upset over UNRWA official’s remark on refugees not returning,” October 31).
He is wrong on two points: General Assembly resolutions are merely recommendations, and are not binding under international law; and Resolution 194 does not refer to Palestinian refugees, nor does it grant them a “right of return.” On the contrary, that claim is a complete distortion of the resolution’s language.
Second, the outrageous UNESCO decision that the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem are an integral part of the “occupied” Palestinian territories threatens that “any unilateral action by the Israeli authorities is to be considered a violation of international law, the UNESCO Conventions and the United Nations and Security Council resolutions” (“UNESCO decision to call Patriarchs’ Tomb Palestinian is ‘absurd,’ says PM,” October 31).
This decision is wrong, factually and legally. UNESCO decisions are not binding in international law, and this one defies all historical truth.DR. JAN SOKOLOVSKY
Jerusalem Words in the PM’s mouth
Sir, – Thanks to David Horovitz for his incisive interview with Ambassador Gould (“A most intriguing ambassador,” Editor’s notes, October 15). But it is disturbing that Prime Minister Netanyahu may believe what Horovitz has him say, that “we resent the notion that these areas” – which Horovitz also has Netanyahu call Judea and Samaria – “are consigned to the definition of ‘occupied,’ over which we have no rights, when we feel so strongly that we have a peerless claim.”
I hope he realizes that by putting these words in Netanyahu’s mouth – and even more if the prime minister actually believes them – it will only make it much harder for Israel to give up the occupied areas she is going to need to give up for her sustainable Jewish identity and security and peace.
There seems to remain, though, one hope. It is that Netanyahu may be the one (but only one) leader who remains, in the era after Ariel Sharon, who can show so deeply that he understands our heritage and our security needs, and hence can inculcate such confidence in his judgments that he may be able to unite the country to be able to act in her own best interests.JAMES ADLER
Cambridge, Massachusetts Green dollars
Sir, – University students who burned tires (“Power to the people,” photo, November 1) showed themselves to be lacking any regard for the environment and to be motivated solely by greed.MOSHE-MORDECHAI VAN ZUIDEN
Jerusalem The anti-kollel kollel
– To counter the widespread unawareness that our religious texts
disapprove of long-term, full-time religious study without working, the
government should provide substantial financial incentives to encourage
the study of these religious texts (“Debate over kollel-student stipend
goes to ‘the sources,’” November 1).YONATAN SILVER
Jerusalem JFK from right to left
– Thank you for David Geffen’s op-ed on the fiftieth anniversary of
JFK’s election (“In appreciative memory of JFK,” October 28).
appropriate to begin the op-ed by quoting his famous words to Americans
in his inaugural address: “Ask not what your country can do for you –
ask what you can do for your country.”
The main and sad problem
is that Israelis read from right to left, and so it comes out: “Ask not
what you can do for your country – ask what the country can do for you.”MENACHEM DAYAGI
Tel Aviv Black cloud
– The ongoing saga of the disgraceful imprisonment of Jonathan Pollard
casts a black cloud over the vaunted American justice system (“Pollard’s
life sentence doesn’t fit the crime,” November 1).
The part that
Israel played in Pollard’s imprisonment is also an indictment of the
behavior of our government at the time and of those officials – elected
and otherwise – who played into secretary of defense Caspar Weinberger’s
How can our own ally behave so viciously toward a
prisoner whom it holds in a sentence that is out of proportion to the
offense? CYRIL ATKINS Beit Shemesh The South African example Sir, – It
is shocking and frightening to know that there is still no border fence
on our southern border (“Whatever happened to the Sinai border fence?,”
Editorial, October 31).
As a white South African who fought
against apartheid in my student days, I know the folly of not having any
control on the border.
Since the end of apartheid millions of
black people from the surrounding countries have infiltrated South
Africa, to the extreme aggravation of its black population, who blame
them for the government’s inability to deliver the services they were
promised, better education, better housing and better job opportunities.YVONNE NARUNSKY
Kfar Shmaryahu Elusive piece of evidence
Sir, – William Kaczynski is the son of German Jews who came to Britain in July, 1939, aged just four.
the outbreak of the war, his parents were interned as “enemy aliens.”
Refugees from Hitler – some of whom had already been imprisoned inside
the Reich – cruelly, were often interned despite having refugee status.
was during this period that the very young William began collecting
stamps and letters from family, commencing with a letter from his
cousin, interned in Canada, to his mother.
William has almost
finished writing his book Fleeing from the Fuhrer, a very unusual and
substantial collection of postal history made up of letters, post cards,
envelopes, ephemera and memorabilia from the Holocaust period.
of the items included are postal communications to and from
concentration camp inmates, documents reflecting the Jewish plight under
Hitler and other items which are by-products of the emigration of
European Jewry in the late 1930s to countries all over the world.
is still searching for one elusive piece of evidence for his
fascinating book: a transit visa issued by Chiune Sugihara, who was the
Japanese consul in Kovno, Lithuania. Defying the Japanese government, he
issued approximately 3,500 exit visas, 2,000 of which helped Kovno Jews
escape before the German invasion.
If anyone knows of the whereabouts of one of these transit visas, please contact me.MARCIA RUBENSTEIN PERKIN
Reading, England email@example.com