(photo credit: )
Sir, - Larry Derfner has finally come to the realization that "eternal occupation may be the best of all possible Israeli futures" ("If not now, when?" October 11). It has not, however, prevented him from advocating concessions and actions which would be detrimental to Israel's security and even existence. In this and recent columns Mr. Derfner has proposed: releasing terrorists, abandoning security checkpoints and withdrawing from the West Bank. He also opposed the Israeli attack on a believed perilous strategic Syrian menace.
One hopes that our leaders, when dealing with the Palestinians and representing us at international conferences, will be guided by the best interests of our country rather than by illusions.
Jerusalem a city state?
Sir, - I heard Jerusalem Post editor David Horovitz on the radio the other day discussing recent conversations between Jews and Palestinians about dividing Jerusalem. For the first time, factions on each side seemed to weigh this option seriously. I would like to propose another option: Jerusalem as a city state, with its own autonomy, led by a tribunal of Jews, Muslims and Christians. I would be interested to know if this option has ever been seriously looked at.
Duplicity over Lockerbie
Sir, - May I congratulate David Horovitz and The Jerusalem Post on "Lockerbie - a sinister miscarriage of justice?" (October 12). Nearly 19 years after the event it is one of the clearest and, in my view, most accurate presentations I have ever read.
It may interest readers to know - vis-a-vis Mrs Thatcher - that having read her book The Downing Street Years, I immediately wrote to her to ask how she could write such a book and yet ignore Lockerbie, as Mr. Horovitz notes, claiming that no Libyan counterattack materialized. I noted that the book was published in 1993 - five years after Lockerbie. Her reply: "I have nothing to add to the text."
As prime minister, she had repeatedly refused to consider an enquiry into Lockerbie, and refused to meet with us. When her then secretary of state for transport, Cecil Parkinson, agreed with us that there should be a full enquiry but that he would have to run that past the cabinet, he returned to us crestfallen, evidently having been "handbagged." It was also alleged in the US media that she and president Bush (Sr.) had agreed in a phone call that Lockerbie should be kept "low profile."
It is thus just about as clear to us, as outsiders, as it could possibly be that both countries knew, and were concealing from us, a great deal about this appalling event, both ante and post hoc.
We were called to the US embassy in London to hear the findings of president Bush (Sr.'s) Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism (published May 1990). This told us little other than that the US should become more belligerent about terrorist groups. But in an aside to one of our group members - Martin Cadman, who had lost a son - a member of the commission staff said: "Our government and yours know exactly what happened (at Lockerbie), but they're never going to tell."
We believe that governments have a special duty to protect their citizens against terrorist murder, since their policies define the targets. When they fail in this duty, there must be an absolute obligation to come clean to the relatives of the victims as to why protection failed, who was responsible for the outrage, and why. This knowledge of being marginalized and deliberately lied to fuels our determination.
I grieve, too, for all those who have accepted in good faith what their governments have told them, instead of asking, "Just what are they hiding, then?" We regret that such families will have to go through some further disturbance when the truth comes out.
Yet it is not possible to approach what people in the US call "closure" against a background of such duplicity. Nor does its continuance honor the memory of those dear people who died.
Sir, - I would like to congratulate you on the excellent feature on the Lockerbie case. It is by far the best-researched - and most objective - article on the case I have seen so far. I only wish that the UK and US media would report on the same level. In the US, for whatever reason, they have decided to "ignore" the case.
Ignorant in Gaza
Sir, - Thank you, Stephen Gabriel Rosenberg, for an informative and fascinating once-over-lightly history of neighboring Gaza ("Eyeless in Gaza," October 14). While I did find the past history of Gaza interesting, although mostly unknown to me, my main concern at this time is Gaza's apparent physical future - especially in the light of growing predictions of global warming, and the process, already beginning, of the rise in the elevation of the world's seas.
As most of Gaza is just barely above the current level of the Mediterranean Sea, I cannot help but be concerned about the results of any rise in sea level worldwide on the living conditions of Gaza's inhabitants.
For years Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian governing bodies called for the people of Gaza to make use of their women's wombs as the ultimate Palestinian "secret weapon" in their war against us, completely ignoring the need to feed and provide water to these additional people. So too does the current Palestinian leadership ignore the potential threat to the well-being of the people of Gaza in the face of a possible natural catastrophe brought on by a rise in the level of the Mediterranean.
Sir, - It would seem that the members of an organization that is above suspicion of corruption would welcome a colleague who uncovered corruption. If, however, his associates felt themselves open to such a charge, it is natural that the accuser would be held in disdain, and that his coworkers would refrain from cooperating with him.
It is precisely for this reason that a law exists to protect the "whistle-blower." Yaron Zelekha should therefore retain his position until such time as his accusations are found to be baseless. If they are confirmed, however, his contract should be renewed ("Rid us of Yaron Zelekha, Treasury officials plead," October 12.
Should they have used sign language?
Sir, - I had the pleasure of seeing The Band's Visit. It was truly a delight. The fact that more than 50 percent of the movie was in English reflected a true, genuine situation: How in the world is an Egyptian who knows no Hebrew supposed to communicate with an Israeli who knows no Arabic, if not in English, an international language taught in both countries? ("Israel's Film Academy makes Oscar appeal," October 15.)
Praying on the fly
Sir, - Colin Leci is too harsh in his response to Martin Stern about casual dress in our synagogues ("Casual prayer," October 15). He seems to forget that in Israel, public prayer is not reserved mainly for Shabbat, but is done in the early morning, on the run, before commuting to work, which often means wearing jeans, etc.