Two states the way
Sir, – In response to three items in your October 17 issue – Martin Sherman’s “The two-stage ‘solution” (Into the Fray), in which Sherman asserts: “The entire issue of Palestinian statehood is nothing but a giant hoax”; Gil Hoffman’s “Mr. Counter-pressure” (Politics), whose the sub-headline states that MK Danny Danon is “determined to prevent a two-state solution”; and “A Palestinian state: It simply does not work” (Sovereignty supplement) – the following should be considered: Many Israeli security and military experts believe there is no military solution to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. While it will be difficult to obtain, Israel needs a comprehensive, sustainable two-state resolution in order to avert renewed violence and increased diplomatic isolation and criticism; respond effectively to its economic, environmental and other domestic problems; and remain both a Jewish and democratic state.
This is not only my view, but, as indicated in the Academy Award-nominated documentary The Gatekeepers, also the opinion of many Israeli strategic experts, including past heads of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).
RICHARD H. SCHWARTZ New York
Ban and Gaza
Sir, – With regard to “Ban: Being born in Gaza is not a crime” (October 15), I wish to inform UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that being born in Israel is also not a crime. The difference between being born in these respective areas relates to the situation that the children face after birth.
In Israel, every effort is made to remove children from the risk of an attack. In Gaza, the authorities do not make such efforts. In fact, they deliberately place children at risk so as to either avoid an attack or, more likely, to create victims, garner world sympathy and elicit universal condemnation of Israel.
I would expect a person in Ban’s position to understand and comment on the true picture.
ROBYN ROTBERG Kfar Saba
Sir, – In “Netanyahu to Ban: Gaza not ‘occupied’” (October 14) you report on UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon’s statement in Cairo that “a restrictive occupation that has lasted almost half a century, the continued denial of Palestinian rights and the lack of tangible progress in peace negotiations” were the causes of the Gaza conflict. That statement was totally misplaced.
Ban needs to be reminded that it was none other than one of his predecessors, U Thant, who succumbed to Nasser’s demand in 1967 to remove UNEF from the Israel-Egypt armistice lines, leading to the situation in Gaza. The fault is that of the UN in its role as a paper tiger.
Furthermore, he should read the Bible to further his understanding of the Jews’ more-than 3,000-year historical right to Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.
He also has failed to understand that the decision of the Supreme Authorities at San Remo in 1920 became statutory for the League of Nations to adopt, being subsequently assigned to the UN in perpetuity.
W ith his attitude, Ban has sealed the demise of the UN as an impartial body and degraded the position of secretary- general.
SIDNEY LEVINE Hendon, UK
Sir, – What Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon was well said and the truth. Of course, one could wish that the prime minister educated Ban a step farther.
The UN, as the successor of the League of Nations, correctly called this area by its Biblical name, Judea and Samaria, in official documents. Even General Assembly Resolution 181 of 1947 refers to it as Judea and Samaria.
Only when Jordan claimed to annex it in 1951 did the political term “West Bank” became fashionable as a way to differentiate it from the eastern side of the river.
As Israelis, we bemoan that in opposition to the original decision by the League of Nations, about three-quarters of our land is occupied by the politically invented Kingdom of Jordan, an occupation that has existed only since the early 1920s. In addition, our Temple Mount is occupied by Islam. We are not even allowed to pray where our Temple once stood.
The truth should be emphasized to the whole world.
HILLEL GOLDBERG Jerusalem
Sir, – Today, “UN” stands for “unacceptable.”
It is totally unacceptable that the UN cannot admit its facilities in Gaza were used to store Hamas weaponry and that some of its employees were working for or with Hamas. It is unacceptable that Ban Ki-moon has chosen to overlook UN war crimes in Gaza. It is unacceptable that the UN blames Israel for the destruction and chooses not to acknowledge the root causes.
The UN is not acceptable as an honest broker in the aftermath of this conflict. It can never be an acceptable peace negotiator in our ongoing war with terror.
HELA CROWN-TAMIR Neve Ilan
Sir, – Could someone explain to me why Israel appears to have dropped its demand for a demilitarized Gaza? The world is now talking only about rebuilding Gaza. Nothing about Israeli security. We have to pay our own cost of the war yet we are aiding the rebuilding of Gaza with nothing in return.
Why was the border reopened without a quid pro quo? At least let it not be a total unconditional win for Hamas
MAUREEN FRANKEL Netanya
Sir, – Jeremy Sharon’s “The struggle continues” (Simhat Torah supplement, October 15) misleads by stating that there was an agreement on the part of Jewish women to negotiate a site for prayer other than the Western Wall.
Women of the Wall and its thousands of supporters unequivocally remain committed to our original goal: enabling women to opt for group prayer with Torah reading at the Kotel and rejecting any alternate site. Historic court rulings recognizing Jewish women’s rights at the Western Wall did so for all Jewish women. No group or movement can negotiate them away, much less coerce us to accept another site by officially making the Kotel a haredi synagogue.
The deal would anathematize women’s group prayer at the Kotel and ban us from it, just as the extremist haredi establishment and its violent supporters have sought all along. Such an outcome is neither progressive nor in the interests of Jewish women or the Jewish people.
Should it come to pass, it will have no bearing on us.
SHULAMIT S. MAGNUS Jerusalem The writer is a co-founder of Women of the Wall
Got to her
Sir, – I read “Celebrating Torah in a world that’s gone bonkers” (Center Field, October 15). I started to cry and couldn’t stop. It got to me on so many levels.
I am Orthodox, born Orthodox.
A nice Jewish great-grandmother, observant because it enhances my life. Gil Troy’s column made me reexamine my values and priorities in the direction of my moral compass. Plus, Simhat Torah is my mother’s yartzeit. All this resulted in one, big emotional collapse.
I enjoy all of Troy’s writings and thank him from the bottom of my heart.
JULIE FREEDMAN Petah Tikva
Agrees with Shamir
Sir, – I completely agree with Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir (“I pity those who no longer remember the Holocaust and abandon Israel for a pudding,” October 14). However low the cost of living is, it is disgusting that Israelis would willingly live in Germany, whose soil is soaked with the blood of fellow Jews.
Nevertheless, I believe we should work toward lowering the cost of living by refusing to buy goods where the price is too high.
FREYA BINENFELD Petah Tikva