Gershon Baskin’s article dramatically understates what happened after the UN Partition Plan resolution was passed (”Could it have been different?” June 16).
Baskin cites a lot of pre-Partition Plan history. But Israel accepted the partition that allocated a small area in which there would be a Jewish state, and as a turning point in regional history. Had the Arabs accepted the plan in the same fashion, there could have been no 1948 war, no Arab refugees, and no Nakba.
1n 1947-1948, five Arab states plus Palestinian Arabs launched an existential war on the Jews. It is obvious that if Israel lost that war the result would have been the end of the dream of a Jewish state and as well, the deaths of the majority of the Jews in what was then known as Palestine.
Surprise, surprise. Israel survived that existential war albeit with 6,000+ Israelis including 4,000 soldiers killed. Who besides Arab apologists could blame Israel for after having survived such a war to use its hard fought victory to extend its miniscule borders to create some strategic depth, and to solidify its control over critically located territory?
Yes, the Palestinian refugee problem was created, but at the time the numbers were very much smaller than today, and absent the (unique to the Palestinians) notion that refugee status can be inherited, could have been solved long ago. The same Arab countries that triggered the existential war in 1948 are also responsible for that. Their attack on Israel resulted in and perpetuates the Nakba. Hey, you start a war; you lose the war; and expect no impact? Get real Gershon.
Gershon Baskin posits the easily answered question: “Could it have been different?”
All the Arabs of Mandatory Palestine had to do on November 30, 1947 was accept Partition when it was offered on that proverbial silver platter by the United Nations General Assembly. The Jewish people had already accepted Partition.
Had they accepted partition for the last 74 years, the Palestinian Arabs would have had an independent state of Palestine. Instead they rejected partition and an independent state of Palestine and followed their leader, the grand mufti Amin al-Husseini, a Nazi war criminal who commanded them to: “Murder the Jews. Murder all of them.”
Rather than accept an independent state of Palestine on November 30, 1947, the Palestinian Arabs faced with that other fork in the road chose to obey the grand mufti’s genocidal command. As the poet Robert Frost said: “That has made all the difference”.
Children bring happiness
It was a great pleasure to read an article in the Post that was so positive. Douglas Altabef (“Imperfect Israel is the worst country there is... Except for all the others,” June 16) is to be commended for his ability to see the roses among the thorns. His selection of two facts, the high birth rate and high standing on the world’s happiness index, are, I believe, closely related; children bring happiness. Who cannot smile while watching a little one enjoying the simple pleasures of life, say on a playground swing or licking an ice cream cone.
Personally I always regretted having only one sibling. I once asked my mother why, and she explained that it was 1939 when she might have considered having another child. In England at that time it did not seem to be a good idea. Thanks to Churchill and the grace of God, Hitler never invaded England, but it could easily have gone the other way.
My compensation for the paucity of siblings is the blessing of our children and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren we now enjoy.
Ain’t gonna happen
David Weinberg’s formula for Middle East harmony is not exactly something new or innovative, is it? “All” that needs to be done, he says (“Abdullah attacks the Abraham Accords,” June 17), is for Palestinian leadership to abandon its strategy of violence and terrorism and, in its place, give compromise with Israel a working chance. A rather large menu of actions to squeeze into a tiny little “all,” I would think. Well, we can agree, I believe, that this ain’t gonna happen any time soon.
So then, where does an incalcitrant Palestinian leadership and their enmity toward Israel fit into the “beauty and promise” of the Abraham Accords. As a thorn that will not go away, I’m afraid, one that the countries that have had the wisdom to thus far partner with Israel in these accords will sooner or later be unable to ignore, and one that countries in perpetual war with Israel will not let them ignore.
It’s fair to assume that Marwan Muasher did not offer his pessimistic opinion to the widely read and influential Foreign Affairs without first testing the waters. Surely, he – or King Abdullah – solicited preliminary feedback and reaction from their regional neighbors, including those who already acknowledged Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.
It is folly to think that the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain or Morocco will abandon what they view as the plight of the Palestinians against Israeli aggression and occupation, and it’s only a matter of time before territorial compromises and release of blood-stained terrorists from prison become part of a quid pro quo agreement in future negotiations of the Abraham Accords.
This is not to suggest that Bennett – or whomever might succeed him – should not continue to try and find a workable formula for co-existence with the Palestinians. But it is imperative that any effort to that end remain unlinked from the Abrahams Accords; the point at which the former can be used to sour the latter is when hope for a mutually beneficial relationship between Israel and its neighbors will be all but lost.
Will President Biden’s upcoming visit influence the current balance in any way? Most improbable, particularly with US midterm elections no more than a few months away. Unlike Muasher, the president cannot afford to be seen as a rabble rouser. I have no doubt that he would love to use the promotion and endorsement of the Abraham Accords as a way of pressuring Israel into territorial conciliations and security eroding compromises, but he’ll hold off. At least until he can be certain whatever position he takes will not negatively impact the Democrats’ chances of keeping the White House in 2024.
A simple step
Regarding “The ‘failed experiment’ isn’t the coalition with Arabs; it’s a PM with a legitimacy deficit” (June 17): Yaakov Katz is nearly correct. The failure is the Israeli electoral system which has resulted in repeated elections which produced no party that came within twenty seats of a majority. Thus, Israel has experienced a series of governments with very fragile coalitions. There is a clear need for electoral reform.
With new elections being imminent, there isn’t time for real change. Yet, a simple step that could be taken now would be raising the threshold required for a party to be seated in the next Knesset. This would encourage smaller parties to form coalitions before the election, giving voters a better view of the policies which they are being asked to support than they currently have when coalitions are pulled together post-election.
Forbidding parties that fail to pass the threshold in one election from standing for election in subsequent races for a period of time (four years?) would increase the likelihood that the party asked to form the next government would start out with more than twenty or thirty seats and have a better chance of forming a stable government that might endure for its full elected term.
Once some stability has been achieved, further reforms could be considered, including requiring parties to publish their platforms and show evidence of voter support before being allowed to stand for election, holding public debates followed by polling to eliminate parties deemed unlikely to meet the threshold from the current election, and designating selected seats to be filled by candidates for office in specified districts.
TOBY F. BLOCK
Best you can offer
Reading Gil Troy’s “journey” through the hospital systems of Shaare Zedek and Hadassah Ein Kerem (“It takes a Zionist village to heal, sometimes,” June 15) made me realize how important it is to also share my hospital story.
Mr. Troy was jogging, fell and smashed his wrist, requiring surgery. He then went on to regale us with the efforts of all involved in his care, surgery and recovery.
Three weeks ago, I had the unfortunate experience of spending six days in Hadassah Ein Kerem, two of those days in a step down intensive care unit. The short story was my blood work and EKGs were very abnormal, leading staff to believe I had suffered a heart attack. I hadn’t, thank God, but until all tests started coming back better, it was harrowing.
The care in that hospital was beyond amazing. The staff, from ancillary floor cleaners to nurses and doctors, seamlessly worked together, whether Jewish, Arab, or other. Cooperation was the name of the game and it was like I had been transported to a peaceful oasis of good, while being cared for by the best of the best.
I made sure to tell the staff how caring they all were and to wish them all success in their endeavors. It would be wonderful if all the world could see how these people worked together, ate together and enjoyed their jobs together. That would be the best peace we could have. It would be the most realistic peace we could have, as all were there of their own volition.
So keep up the great work Hadassah and continue to promote a workplace free of strife, bias and hardship. We all deserve the best you can offer.
The coldest place
Regarding “Emergency regulations: A poor stand-in for national policy” (June 14): Silly me! I thought that twelve years ago when our family made aliyah and settled in Ma’aleh Adumim, that we were actually moving to Israel.
I honestly had no idea that in order for Ma’aleh Adumim to be considered part of Israel, the Knesset would have to renew this “Emergency Regulations Law.” I now understand that it was something that was merely a formality all these decades until the Likud (under Bibi’s guidance) decided to make political points and defeat this Knesset bill in order to try to bring down the current government.
The Knesset is playing politics while hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens, including me, get booted out of Israel. Enough is enough already.
After 55 years, why can’t Israel just declare sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, the heart of Israel. Why are we so worried about the UN and EU? They hate us anyway, sovereignty or not. Our declaring ownership of Judea and Samaria is not just the right thing to do, but the only thing to do.
Why are Judea and Samaria still tied to antiquated Jordanian and Ottoman property rights laws? Does California still use Mexican property laws? It’s ridiculous already.
Maybe one day, we in Israel will elect a government that has the guts to do the right thing and correct the mistakes of previous governments, and finally take ownership, annex, take sovereignty, or whatever you want to call it, over all of Judea and Samaria.
Our mayor, Benny Kashriel, likes to boast how Ma’aleh Adumim is a Likud town. I wonder if he’ll say that now, when we’ve all been stabbed in the back by Bibi and company.
My older brother, Daniel, of blessed memory, who lived in Israel for 40 years until his untimely death 14 years ago, used to say that the Knesset is the coldest place in the universe. Why? It’s because they have 120 below zero. I used to think that he was joking.