February 16: Two Views

Fayyad, once hailed as the Palestinian Ben-Gurion, is both a visionary statesman and a tragic figure.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Two views
In “The Livni-Fayyad two-step” (Our World, February 14), Caroline B. Glick writes that Salam Fayyad was an accomplice to the corruption that has been rampant in the Palestinian Authority.
She documents her position.
In “Support Fayyad” (Editorial, February 13), you praise Fayyad as a man of integrity who deserved the appointment by the UN as special envoy to Libya, and indicate that the US was wrong in opposing it.
So I am puzzled. Fayyad – saint or corrupt sinner? Which is it?
In your editorial, we read that Salaam Fayyad’s UN appointment should have been supported by the US and Israel. “No single man,” you write, “has done more to fight corruption and institute transparency within the Palestinian Authority than Fayyad.... He strove to end the money laundering, the slush funds, and the huge embezzlements that characterized – and still plague – Palestinian politics.”
The editorial continues to encourage support for this outstanding fighter against PA corruption “who is truly moderate and a force for good.”
The next day, senior contributing editor Caroline B. Glick deplores appointing Fayyad because, among much else, he “turned a blind eye to the embezzlement of the donor-financed PA budget to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars a year” and “kept the international donations flowing knowing full well that Arafat and his cronies were embezzling the funds to enrich themselves and finance terrorism while the Palestinian people got record unemployment....”
Are we talking about two different people? Perhaps The Jerusalem Post is subscribing to the concept of “alternative facts.”
Caroline B. Glick dances around the truth by calling former Palestinian Authority prime minister Salam Fayyad an enemy of peace and a “bagman for terrorists and mafia bosses in the PLO and Hamas.”
Fayyad, once hailed as the Palestinian Ben-Gurion, is both a visionary statesman and a tragic figure. His laudable efforts to lay the foundations for peace and a Palestinian state through good governance, financial reform and security forces were stymied by Hamas and Fatah. He was ousted for his commitment to nonviolence, his crackdown on corruption and his criticism of the PA’s UN statehood bid.
The PA’s choice to delegitimize Israel instead of building the institutions for a functional state alongside Israel has been self-defeating and an obstacle to peace.
It also demonstrates the vital need for a Palestinian leader like Fayyad, who is, in the 2013 words of Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to Washington, a “peace partner.”
Waltham, Massachusetts
Something to do
According to “Hundreds turn out at Jewish Rally for Refugees protest in New York” (February 13), the rally was organized by HIAS, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.
HIAS was founded in 1881, with the beginning of the mass immigration of Jews from eastern Europe to the United States. For many decades, it did commendable work.
When mass immigration ceased, there were rumors it would be disbanded. However, the opening of the gates of the USSR, with a large exodus of Jews, offered HIAS an opportunity to prove itself. Yet there were rumors that its representatives came to Vienna, the way station for Jews leaving the USSR, and persuaded many of them to go to the US rather than Israel.
This migration has ceased, too, and HIAS is looking for something to justify its existence.
Rights to land
There has been a lot said recently in The Jerusalem Post and among our lawmakers concerning the pros and cons of the new Regulation Bill retroactively legalizing some construction in the West Bank and whether or not the courts will prohibit its application.
The bill is much like the Absentee Property Law of 1950, which the courts ignore. Unfortunately, the more recent legislation supports anti-Israel propaganda, reduces Israel democracy ratings and is incompatible with international law.
There are two issues that need addressing:
1. Israel must acknowledge sovereignty over all of mandated Palestine, although this does not mean applying Israeli civil law (annexation) over territories under military or autonomous control.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett has discovered that schools do not teach the terms included in the Mandate for Palestine, which gave us legal title and international rights for all the land west and east of the Jordan River. Our children grow up without knowing that sovereignty for all of mandated Palestine was held in trust for the Jewish people and automatically transferred to Israel upon its independence.
2. The other issue of current concern is private absentee land owners evicting Jews from their homes.
Other western countries have specific laws that deal with the issue. They have compulsory purchase order laws, which have been used frequently in the UK and Spain. They give the state power to acquire rights over private property and land without the owner’s consent, although in return for adequate compensation.
The irony is that these orders go even farther than the Regulation Bill and are compatible with international law.
Rishon Lezion
Why is there not one clever person in the whole of this country to anticipate the inevitable? From the day I arrived here 21 years ago, one of the first things I noticed was that instead of preventing fires, we put them out.
Where is our vision? Take the latest fiasco. After Amona was evacuated forcefully and families uprooted, a law was passed in order to prevent this from happening again. Why was this not done before? We have had such things happen before – did we not learn our lesson? Wake up!
Tel Aviv
Feeling their pain...
I recently read “Sir Anish Kapoor wins 2017 Genesis Prize” (February 6).
I think that this was a fabulous choice. His art is very impressive.
But what really moved me was his deep feeling for the poor victims of the war in Syria.
We as Jews cannot be indifferent to the suffering of people who have lost their homes, whose lives have been destroyed and who face a difficult future.
I would like to give the Genesis Prize Foundation and Anish Kapoor $100,000 for them to jointly donate to projects to help Syrian refugees. I personally feel their pain.
Beit Yanai
...and hunger
The other day, I went out to lunch. As in most New York City restaurants, the portions are too big. I thought I was hungry, but after eating half a wrap I was full, as I had also had a cup of soup.
I asked the restaurant to please put the remaining half in a doggy bag, and when I walked down the street, I gave it to a homeless person.
We often take for granted that we have a home and are able to get food and eat when we are hungry. But this is not the case for the homeless. Giving the homeless person half a sandwich was a good deed, and doing a good deed felt good. It was the right thing.
When homeless people beg for money, I do not feel comfortable taking my wallet out. Instead, I try to give them some food. It is a good deed.
Every now and then we should all do good deeds.
New York