December 3: The EU's unwanted meddling

December 3 The EUs unw

The EU's unwanted meddling Sir, - Two items in the Post - "Israel battling against draft EU proposal to recognize east Jerusalem as capital of future Palestinian state" and "NGO report: B'Tselem tops European funding list" (December 2) - must surely serve to throw light on the European Union's negative and hostile attitude toward Israel. On the one hand, the EU has prejudged any future negotiations by unilaterally deciding that Palestinians will make east Jerusalem the capital of a Palestinian state. On the other hand, it has pumped millions of euros into a host of pro-Palestinian NGOs that constantly lobby the courts in an effort to frustrate the actions of the Israeli government. Who do these Europeans think they are? Who, exactly, invited them to meddle in Israel's affairs? One can imagine the howls of outrage that would emanate from Europe were Israel to meddle in their affairs in a similar manner. It is high time our government told the European Union, in no uncertain terms, that it is not up to them to divide our capital, and that they must put a stop to funding Israeli NGOs with a political platform. BERTIE FRANKEL Kfar Saba Fooled again? Sir, - The Americans have a saying: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." I've lost count of how many times (including the "disengagement") the Likud party has fooled me. Now, the prime minister says the settlement freeze is "a one-time and temporary decision" ("Netanyahu: Settlement freeze is only temporary," December 2). Why would we believe him? Why bother to have elections when even if the Likud wins, we end up with the policies of the losers? Why vote at all? THELMA JACOBSON Petah Tikva Tip of the iceberg Sir, - I must congratulate the cartoonist in Wednesday's paper (December 2). "Bibi Tours" - i.e., his position - is indeed heading straight for the tip of the iceberg, and we all know that three-quarters of that is under the water. As in the case of the Titanic, it will be smashed, but I dread to think of the other consequences the rest of the iceberg will cause. HILARY GATOFF Herzliya Pituah What price freedom? Sir, - When it comes to a prisoner exchange as described in "The price of freedom" (November 29), there are two "freedoms" involved - that of terrorists such as Marwan Barghouti, and that of IDF soldier Gilad Schalit. There are two "prices" - that which should be paid by Hamas and/or the PA, and the price Israel will pay. No mention has been made, thus far, of a potential third "freedom" for a third possible "price" - that which may face the Kingdom of Jordan if and when a Hamas/PA hero becomes a powerful political force on the West Bank of the Jordan River, nor that the ultimate price for Israel may be much, much greater than presently assessed. MIRIAM L. GAVARIN Jerusalem Sir, - I do not understand government policy. A few years ago we negotiated with terrorists, and we released hundreds of prisoners. Our reward was two dead soldiers. We are again negotiating with terrorists, and we still don't know the condition of Gilad Schalit. To my knowledge, nobody from our country has seen him outside of a video. When do we stop negotiating with terrorists? YISRAEL SHWARZSTEIN Jerusalem Something for nothing Sir, - Jeff Barak makes an interesting point ("A change of heart? Not likely," November 30): If Bennie Begin, the White Knight, is in the government, then all's well with the government. I just want to remind him that history, in the form of Yitzhak Rabin, Ariel Sharon and Binyamin Netanyahu, has shown that when you enter the political fray, you usually metamorphose into whatever is currently the political trend. The Palestinians believe that when you get something for nothing, it's not a trade, it's a gift - an unreturnable gift. If Begin thinks settlements will unfreeze after 10 months, he should realize that the Palestinians believe in the dictum of "What's mine is mine and what's yours is mine." YAACOV PETERSEIL Jerusalem Afghanistan futility Sir, - Larry Derfner regards US President Barack Obama's commitment to send 30,000 troops to Afghanistan as futile because, in his words, "America is not a superpower anymore" ("Welcome, Obama, to the March of Folly," November 26). However, his conclusion that "even millions of American soldiers fighting for 100 years might not be enough to neutralize the threat of Islamism" points the finger at an intangible situation that seems to be the core of the problem. And indeed, a most worrying one at that! DR. RACHEL BIRATI Melbourne Beilin's prophecy illuminated Sir, - In his article "Gaining grace?" (November 27), Herb Keinon refers to Yossi Beilin's prediction of a "chain of events that could lead to the collapse of the Palestinian Authority." I can think of a number of reasons this prediction might come to pass. 1. Using the democratic process, Hamas won its initial victory in the ballot box by defeating a corrupt PLO. The PLO has yet to reform. 2. Hamas has an army, and although it was defeated in battle, it won the media war with the publishing of the Goldstone Report. 3. Hamas has proved it has the ability to organize and to rule in an effective way in the Gaza strip, even though both Israel and Egypt have placed obstacles in its path. 4. It is on the verge of pulling off the most lopsided prisoner exchange in modern times, and it is dealing with the Israelis, who have said time and again that they refuse to engage in talks with Hamas. Unless Israel can bring together all of the major political parties and formulate a pragmatic, responsible policy, we will find ourselves at the mercy of the US - not the best position for an independent country. P. BERMAN Shoham Mr. Peres can't have it both ways Sir, - It is seldom that I agree with President Shimon Peres, but he has it absolutely right when he says that "Jews have only themselves to rely on... our people do not have the luxury of making strategic errors" ("Peres recalls heroism of pre-State paratroopers at Haviva Reik memorial," December 1). So the question that comes to my mind, and hopefully also to others', is: Why do he and our prime minister travel all over the world asking others to solve our problems, even though many of them are obviously not our friends? An example is Egypt, which does not hide its enmity for Israel and condemns us on a regular basis, yet Israel still lauds it for its peace efforts on our behalf. Then there are the Western countries that are supposedly our friends, which deny us our rights to Jerusalem and other parts of our land. Does Peres not think that those pre-state paratroopers would be disgusted at seeing the leaders of the land for which they died, negotiating with terrorists and releasing those that have murdered and maimed Israelis? President Peres, you can't have it both ways. EDITH OGNALL Netanya ElBaradei a failure? Who knew? Sir, - Nearly 20 inches of editorial space questioning "ElBaradei's failure" (December 2)? Isn't that a touch naïve? Many of us concluded long ago that ElBaradei viewed Iran's efforts in nuclear proliferation as the embodiment of his success. CHAIM A. ABRAMOWITZ Jerusalem