April 25, 2018: Thinking confederation

A confederation is a form of government in which constituent states maintain their independence while amalgamating certain aspects of administration, such as security or commerce.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Thinking confederation
In “Nevertheless, a confederation” (Comment & Features, April 23), advocates from the Israeli-Palestinian movement calling itself A Land for All propose two sovereign states, Israel and Palestine, allied into a new legal entity – a confederation. The state of Palestine would be based on the pre-Six Day War boundaries.
From the Israeli perspective, such a solution, however much modified by land swaps, simply will not do. Almost certainly, Hamas, which is intent on Israel’s destruction, would gain power sooner or later, either through elections or by way of a violent coup, as it did in the Gaza Strip. The new state would become a Gaza-type launching pad for the indiscriminate bombardment of Israel.
This in itself might not concern the leaders of the Palestinian Authority very much, but what does worry them very much is the prospect of losing power to Hamas. Like it or not, they would need stronger defenses against “the enemy within” than their own resources could provide.
A much more robust approach is required in which both Israel’s security needs and those of a new sovereign Palestine are taken into account. One possibility (and US President Donald Trump’s peace team might be considering it) would be an initiative backed by the US, the Arab League and Israel that is aimed at bringing two new legal entities into existence simultaneously – a sovereign state of Palestine and a three-state confederation of Jordan, Israel and Palestine.
A confederation is a form of government in which constituent states maintain their independence while amalgamating certain aspects of administration, such as security or commerce. A Jordan-Israel-Palestine confederation would be dedicated above all to defending itself and its constituent sovereign states, but also to cooperating in the fields of commerce, infrastructure and economic development, and also in administering Jerusalem’s holy sites.
Such a solution based on an Arab-wide consensus could absorb Palestinian extremist objections, making it abundantly clear that any subsequent armed opposition, from whatever source, would be disciplined from within and crushed by the combined and formidable defense forces of the confederation.
A confederation of three sovereign states, dedicated to providing hi-tech security but also future economic growth and prosperity for all its citizens – here is where the answer to a peaceful and thriving Middle East might lie.
Beit Shemesh
Male privilege in action
Oh, what a wonderful world we would live in if only menschlichkeit (being a decent person) were the guiding light in our social interaction with others (“Plane talk,” Comment & Features, April 22).
Rabbi Avi Shafran surely knows that life is never that simple. He completely fails to put the issue in its right context. Perhaps I can help him: When a woman is asked to move once aboard an airliner in order to accommodate the wishes of a man who does not want to be seated next to her because she is a woman, this is male privilege in action.
It is the same male privilege that is seeing women removed from billboards, magazines, newspapers and photographs in general (yes, even Holocaust photographs). It is the same male privilege that is putting up signs demanding “modest attire” or segregated sidewalks despite the Supreme Court having declared this illegal. It is the same male privilege that is failing to find a solution to the problem of “agunot,” those Jewish women whose husbands refuse to grant them a religious divorce.
It is the same context in which a request to move, simply because I am a woman, must be seen.
The creeping misogyny with which we are confronted in Israel today does not allow us the luxury of practicing menschlichkeit. Perhaps Rabbi Shafran should be requesting it from the men who treat women in this way!
Independence Day supplement
While not diminishing the overwhelming joy and gratitude we should all feel and openly express in the celebration of Israel’s 70th birthday, and without lessening the recognition due to the individuals, institutions, projects and programs highlighted in your special Israel Independence Day supplement (“Israel at 70,” April 18), I am deeply disappointed and pained, but not necessarily shocked, that nowhere in the 50 pages are the words God, Torah or even mention of the religion of Judaism.
How can this be? How can we truly and analytically talk about any of the ideas posed in the supplement’s sub-title of “A look at the modern- day miracle: how we came to be, what we’ve accomplished and what lies ahead” unless in our expressions of pride and achievement we recognize the essential concept that Israel, the Torah and the Holy One, blessed be He, are one, as somehow being a fundamental element of the realization of these miracles.
Sadly, I am not totally shocked by the absence of any mention of God and Torah because unfortunately, I have over the years become somewhat accustomed to the oft articulated concept of “Through my strength and power of my own hand, have I accomplished all this achievement.”
Many are uncomfortable with the notion of our being a “chosen people,” thereby failing to understand that this is inextricably linked to our bringing blessings to the world, no small component of which is our achievement in multiple fields of endeavor and our calling to be exemplars par excellence of moral, ethical living.
What makes us stand out, whether we acknowledge it or not or are comfortable with it or not, is not simply our noteworthy achievements, but that we do all this in the fulfillment of our role to enhance the world in which we live as identifiable members of the nation of Israel, the Jewish people.
From what planet are Udi Dekel and Anat Kurtz (“Reconstruction of the Gaza Strip: Toward a better future”), who describe this as a “critical imperative”? Fundamental to their urgent prescription for the Gaza Strip is that Israel must take the lead to “mobilize regional and international support and involvement in the project.” Who and where are the Gazans who will cooperate in this grandiose scheme? Surely not Gaza’s Jew-hating Hamas, which banks on the death of Gazans to portray Israel as the source of all of the Gaza Strip’s wretched conditions (which don’t affect Hamas higher-ups).
Every effort to ameliorate conditions for Gaza’s non-belligerents has failed because of Hamas leaders’ preference for guns over butter, the better to kill Jews.
In addition, the authors’ grand plans for the Gaza Strip prolong the Palestinian Arabs’ agenda to do nothing for themselves, to maintain reliance on money from duped, sympathetic westerners, and to make Israel, the Gazans’ sworn enemy, their caretaker.
Kfar Saba
Reading supplement editor Noa Amouyal’s opening piece (“Making something out of nothing”), I thought I was in a parallel universe.
Ms. Amouyal claims it would be “remiss” not to include a story on Israel’s Arab population, as “our independence is their ‘Nakba’ (catastrophe)....”
The Arab “nakba” is the failure to annihilate the nascent Jewish state and its people. Let this be perfectly clear.
Ms. Amouyal seems to feel the need to take responsibility for our enemy’s implacable hatred and its result. Where is her Jewish pride – and self-respect?
Tel Mond