Letters to the editor, 18 June, 2006

Pygmy rule Sir, - To Yehuda Avner's wonderful "Israel does not need Palestinian recognition" (June 14), I would add: Woe to all of us that giants have been replaced by pygmies! ELIHU LEVINE Jerusalem Sir, - Your writer is sadly mistaken. Israel and the Islamic world desperately and existentially need to have the Palestinians publicly and clearly recognize Israel's right to exist as a sovereign Jewish state among Islamic countries in the Middle East. The entire Palestinian narrative is based on Israel as a rogue colonial entity, illegitimately imposed on the Arabs by the West, usurping holy Islamic soil, murdering Muslims and polluting the Islamic world. A Palestinian public declaration, by intellectuals, religious leaders and politicians, of Israel's right to exist here would make that position difficult if not impossible to maintain. This single demand for recognition of Israel's right to exist should thus be made by Israeli governments at all times. And not just from the Palestinians: We should demand that any government involved in Israeli-Arab diplomacy make this recognition of Israel's right to exist part and parcel of every diplomatic encounter with the Palestinians. KENNETH S. BESIG Kiryat Arba Israel's best argument Sir, - Thank you, J.W. Boyd, for reminding us of the weakness of claiming historical right as the major reason for maintaining the State of Israel ("Mohawk Jews," Letters, June 14). Far stronger is the existential situation - our society has grown to be several million, coherent, creative and capable of absorbing new elements. It is possible that the secrets of this success story are indeed the historical values that have been transmitted for so many generations. They may be harder to define, but the internal strength they give to our society is indisputable. At any rate, we would do well to emphasize these values rather than a dubiously legalistic claim. HELEN LEVENSTON Jerusalem Sir, - J.W. Boyd ignores the main arguments against the occupation myth, about which the ground has not shifted except in the case of Israel - a perception that has anti-Semitic overtones. The League of Nations Mandate expired in 1948, but the legal implications remain. The Jewish people, in accordance with the still-valid right of self determination, was awarded a national home. Subsequently the UN reaffirmed our right. But the Arabs engaged in a war of annihilation against the newborn, legally established State of Israel, which they lost, creating the problem of the refugees, most of whom had infiltrated into Palestine after Jews started to go back to their historic homeland in the 19th century. After World War II the victors redrew their borders. Germans who had lived in Poland and Russia for centuries were resettled in a truncated Germany. All refugees of the all-too-numerous wars of our time have been resettled. Only the Arab refugees have been kept deliberately in limbo in order to destroy Israel - when the Arab nation has 22 states, vast areas, untold natural wealth and a shared culture to solve its artificially preserved refugee problem. Serbia, therefore, is no precedent. Unfortunately, the propagation of an untruth is much more effective than the publicizing of truth, when the former, unconsciously and consciously, evokes the "longest hatred." ARYEH NEWMAN Jerusalem Stop whining, start working Sir, - It's time we stopped whining. Your editorial "No law, no order" (June 15) deplored the world's failure, yet again, to vouchsafe us the rules it applies to everybody else. As a people and as a nation we are still courting the world's approbation. We need to get real and absorb into our DNA that this will never happen. The most we can ever hope for is a grudging tolerance. We can shout to the heavens that we are unjustly maligned; nobody is listening. We can scream endlessly about the Arabs' refusal to accept Partition in 1947; about the campaigns, wars and intifadas that were forced on us; about our endless concessions and actions in good faith - nobody cares. The bottom line is how we are perceived, and we are currently perceived as a brutal and colonialist occupying power, a Jewish colonialist occupying power. This latter is, of course, intolerable (quite apart from the fact that were Jews not involved the world would care as little about the Palestinians as it does about the slaughter in Darfur, and as it did about Rwanda). We need to get ourselves out of this mess. Those who desire our annihilation also have most of the world's oil, and so a sophisticated and cheap alternative energy source must be found. We have the brain power. We need to create an energy Manhattan Project and harness every conceivable resource to it. If we are successful, realpolitik will rule. Everybody will still despise us, but then maybe we'll be able to come to an arrangement with our neighbors. HELEN ELEASARI Tel Aviv Get outside experts in Sir, - Much attention has been paid in the US media to the explosion on the beach in Gaza, killing and injuring several members of the same family. Because this incident has been made to look so bad for Israel by much of the world press I would like to suggest that the Israeli government request metallurgical experts in Switzerland, Germany or some other competent European country to examine the evidence and render an independent opinion as to whether or not the shrapnel in the victims came from a land mine or an artillery shell. Regardless of the results there will always be ideologues who will blame Israel, but there are many more fair-minded people in the world who would like to see an independent assessment of the cause of the blast ("IDF probe chief to 'Post': Our case is airtight," June 15). ALAN M. SEAR Tampa, Florida Unfair editorial Sir, - On June 12 The Jerusalem Post published a rather unfriendly editorial entitled "Noxious speech" about the case of "The State of Israel vs. Nadia Matar." Was it fair to describe my co-chair of Women in Green as "the right-wing agitator, Nadia Matar, with bad taste or manners, engaging in noxious speech"? Can we now expect another "evenhanded" Jerusalem Post editorial in which Dana Olmert is called a "left-wing agitator with bad taste or manners, who engages in noxious speech"? After all, she stood outside the home of IDF Chief of Staff Lt-Gen. Dan Halutz on Saturday night, June 10 and called him a "murderer who should be tried for war crimes." To some of your readers, this is noxious speech. Or does it make a difference that Dana is the daughter of Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister? RUTH MATAR Co-Chair, Women in Green Jerusalem Right to father? Sir, - All the so-called humanitarians should give a thought to the as-yet unborn child who will not just have a common murderer as a father but the assassin of a highly esteemed prime minister of Israel. That child will wish never to have been born ("High Court removes last obstacle in way of Amir fatherhood," June 14). RUTH TUCKMAN Ashkelon Sir, - Such a poor creature would, all its life, live with the stigma of being the child of a callous murderer who did his country incalculable harm. OSCAR DAVIES Jerusalem Sir, - I would like to hear from such a child, now grown to adulthood. B. ABRAHAMS Tel Aviv