March 28: Talking Turkey, Obama and Pollard

If Obama had given that speech to a group of Palestinian Arab students in Ramallah, what kind of a reception do you think he would have gotten?

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Talking Turkey...
Sir, – Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his cabinet can give as many apologies to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as they like (“Amidror: Apology to Ankara does not obligate Israel to end Gaza blockade,” March 25). As US President Barack Obama said in his recent address to Israeli students in Jerusalem, one makes peace with people, not with autocratic leaders.
I just hope that we, the Israeli people, show our continued disquiet by not returning Turkey to the top spot it once held on the list of our vacation destinations.
It seems our prime minister might have been lulled or bullied by Obama into a premature apology, given Erdogan’s last word regarding Gaza. To say the least, one would not have expected his first reaction to our apology to be an official visit there.
So much for the power of Obama’s diplomacy.
Sir, – Everyone seems to forget that our relations with Turkey had been taking a nosedive ever since Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was elected, leading up to the Mavi Marmara incident.
Erdogan is not interested in an apology – he wants to open the blockade on Gaza. Prime Minister Netanyahu should have worded the apology differently, apologizing only for operational mistakes that led to the deaths of nine Turkish terrorists.
Sir, – US President Barack Obama came to Israel as a wolf dressed in sheep’s clothing. He had a smile on his face and a promise that Israel does not stand alone.
Obama did not speak to MKs in the Knesset. He went to a different audience – university students, most on the Left – and called for them to push their leaders to make peace.
Now, Peace Now leader Yariv Openheimer is calling for a new national campaign (“Left mulling Obama-inspired push for peace,” March 25). “Our desire for peace,” he was quoted as saying, “our disgust with the occupation, the daily reality in which settlers do whatever they want in the territories without getting punished, the moral deterioration, and the indifference of much of our society to what is happening beyond the Green Line have become part of life.”
Obama had a ready and willing audience of Peace Now-niks.
They understood what his message for peace was, as he had said it many times. Did they understand that it means going back to the 1948 borders and handing lands over to the “Palestinians?” Did they understand the consequences? Not only won’t that bring peace, but terror will be in the center of Tel Aviv and surrounding cities, towns and roads. Israel will go back to being the size of a postage stamp, easy to stamp out.
Obama knows what he is doing. Leftists who believe his deceitful words and believe in his friendship are the naive and foolish ones.
Sir, – US President Barack Obama is certainly a very smooth politician and excellent speaker. However, he speaks with a forked tongue.
His major policy speech was made in front of a hand-picked audience, packed with Left-leaning and Arab students (so much for Apartheid!). How else can one explain such an ovation for his statement, “two countries for two peoples?” His comparison between the children of Sderot under rocket fire and Palestinian Arab children faced with a foreign army was disingenuous, to say the least.
Where is this foreign army in Gaza and Ramallah? Obama signed on to the fact that Israel still occupies “Palestinian” territory despite his admission that Jewish rights to the land go back thousands of years.
Yet how can we blame a US president for pursuing the interests of his own country when our own leaders don’t have the courage and conviction to proclaim our sovereignty and independent thinking? When our prime minister finally realizes that the Arabs want the whole pie and not half, he might realize there is no partner for peace.
Sir, – In his speech to selected students at the Jerusalem Convention Center, President Obama recognized and honored the Jewish state of Israel. He praised and defended Israel, proclaiming, “You are not alone.” He received standing ovation after standing ovation. It was, with no exaggeration, a triumph.
I have only one observation: If Obama had given that speech to a group of Palestinian Arab students in Ramallah, what kind of a reception do you think he would have gotten? He would have had to call on the protection of US-trained Palestinian police for a very unceremonious exit.
Sir, – It’s quite alright to be lectured by President Obama and others about doing something for peace, but there are a few problems for the ordinary Israeli.
With whom are we to make a deal? Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was never reelected. He appointed Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who is not supported by any significant political group. There is no functioning parliament. The old Palestine Liberation Organization seems dormant. The UN recently voted for something, but who knows what it was? Nearly half the Palestinian people are under the control of Hamas, a terrorist organization linked to our worst enemies.
Twenty years ago we were ready to go along with Yasser Arafat for a Palestinian state because we thought he might be able to deliver. Where is the quid pro quo? DAVID SHAW Jerusalem Sir, – Now that we have welcomed US President Barack Obama, and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has backed a two-state solution, (“In Jerusalem, Obama asserts Israel’s right to defend itself,” March 21), it seems there will be a great effort by America to back the two sides to sit down and negotiate terms without preconditions.
From Israel’s point of view the big question will be trust, and from the Palestinians’ direction, it’s “where there’s a will there’s a way.” Being the land of miracles, there might be a surprise after all these years. However, the agreement must be signed and delivered.
Herzliya Pituah
...and Pollard
Sir, – What at first seemed a most mean-spirited letter (“Not so fast,” March 24) was one that pointed up what needs to be done to free Jonathan Pollard.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu needs to apologize to the people of the United States and to Jews everywhere on behalf of the Israeli government, saying the State of Israel erred in using Pollard to spy on its own best friend.
In calling for his pardon by US President Barack Obama, Netanyahu needs to make assurances that Pollard will be greeted quietly and privately, with gratitude for American generosity and God’s providence.
Sir, – In his otherwise excellent review of the Pollard affair (“Closer – but still far apart,” Politics, March 22), Gil Hoffman missed a crucial point.
During the signing of the Wye River Memorandum by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on October 23, 1998, then-president Bill Clinton stated: “With respect to Mr. Pollard, I have agreed to review this matter seriously, at the prime minister’s request. I have made no commitment as to the outcome of the review.” No review was ever carried out.
President Barack Obama has now said virtually the same words. Presumably, the outcome will be the same.
The farcical cover-up has to end now, and Pollard must not be allowed to die in a US prison because our leaders are afraid to upset the US president.