April 18: Why the mystery?

Why did Netanyahu have to hide his plans from the ambassadors, only to reveal them at a party meeting the same week?

letters (photo credit: JP)
(photo credit: JP)
Why the mystery? Sir, – Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told EU ambassadors on April 11 that he had not yet decided when to deliver a speech presenting a new Israeli diplomatic initiative, or what he would say. But just three days later, he told a Likud gathering that he would deliver a speech in Washington in which he’d “present the principles of our diplomatic and security policies” (“PM to set out ‘firm principles’ in May speech to Congress,” April 15).
It is laudable that Netanyahu has finally decided to explain exactly where his government stands on the critical issues facing the country. After all, so long as he fails to set out an Israeli proposal for a final resolution of the Israel-Palestinian dispute, it will be left entirely to Israel’s enemies to define the issues. The longer he waits, the more likely it is that outsiders will attempt to impose a settlement.
Still, one wonders what changed in those intervening days. Why did he have to hide his plans from the ambassadors, only to reveal them at a party meeting the same week? This is certainly not the type of clarity and forthrightness that Israel (and the world) should expect from its leadership.
EFRAIM A. COHEN Zichron Ya’acov
And why the locale?
Sir, – While it is a great honor for Israel and our prime minister to be invited to address a joint session of the US Congress, it boggles my mind why an important new policy of the Israeli government would be introduced first to a foreign legislative body rather than to the Knesset.
Are we so beholden to the US?
Disgraced, unworthy
Sir, – Does anyone really care what former prime minister Ehud Olmert says (“Goldstone’s regrets are too little, too late,” Frontlines, April 15)? A man who is under investigation and who has disgraced himself and his nation is not worthy of an opinion.
He who is without sin should cast the first stone!
Neveh Ilan
Who are the ‘kids?’
Sir, – I attended the Justin Bieber concert with my daughter (“‘Bieber fever’ peaks at TA concert,” April 15). There were so many girls with signs saying: Sorry Justin! These girls were apologizing to Bieber for the shameful way the paparazzi treated him.
Amazing, isn't it? Teenage girls are more responsible and sensitive than those adult men.
Too much stimulant
Sir, – Usually I read Larry Derfner’s Rattling the Cage columns with the intent of raising my blood pressure to a level that I may start my day excitedly. However, I must say that his April 14 column (“We got out of Gaza, didn’t we?”) brought my blood pressure to a boil.
Derfner states that we don’t know what is going on in Gaza and “don’t care,” and only care about “Israelis get(ting) hurt or killed.” Well, duh – what should we care about in this turnedaround, crazy world of Jew-hating? The boy in the school bus hit by an anti-tank missile, I’m sure, did not have killing Gazans on his mind, and probably was no more interested in the well-being of Gazans than he ought to have been. He was just on a school bus, going to visit his grandmother. But the Gazans, “innocent civilians,” as Derfner refers to them, certainly had a target in their sights, and what a grand one. What might the world say to Israel had we targeted a clearly marked bus, yellow or not? The 19 Gazans killed in the ensuing IDF attacks were, maybe, in the wrong place at the wrong time, but the “wrong place” for sure was because Hamas uses them as shields and hides its weaponry among them.
Sir, – In his latest column, Larry Derfner decries the blocking of foodstuffs to Gaza since the recent attack on the school bus, rhetorically asking if anyone knows about this supposed violation of law and ethics.
I wonder if Derfner knows about Article 23 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, where this key document of international law states that High Contracting Parties (i.e., governments that have signed on to the Convention) must “permit the free passage of all consignments of essential foodstuffs, clothing and tonics intended for children under fifteen, expectant mothers and maternity cases.” Implicit is that occupying powers do not have to provide essential items for the general adult population living under occupation.
Moreover, Article 23 continues to explain that “The obligation of a High Contracting Party to allow the free passage of [such] consignments is subject to the condition that this Party is satisfied that there are no serious reasons for fearing...
that a definite advantage may accrue to the military efforts or economy of the enemy through the substitution of the above-mentioned consignments for goods which would otherwise be provided or produced by the enemy or through the release of such material, services or facilities as would otherwise be required for the production of such goods.”
In other words, Israel didn’t even have to wait to block the importation of essential foodstuffs into Gaza because, given the existence of an active militant enemy government there, under international law Israel has the legal and moral right (and many would say moral obligation) to not allow Hamas to receive consignments that free up funds for buying missiles to launch at Israel’s civilian population.
Reason for Bonds
Sir, – Regarding “Why does Israel Bonds still exist?” (Reality Check, April 11), imagine what Israel would be like today if Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, had not brought together Diaspora leaders at that fateful King David Hotel conference in September 1950, where the Israel Bonds organization was born.
As the co-authors of Not Just A Bond: A Bond With Israel, a history of Israel Bonds, we believe that any truly objective observer would surely recognize the crucial role that Bonds has played – and continues to play – in the upbuilding of the State of Israel.
The results of these efforts are evident as one travels throughout the nation and comes upon roads, rail lines, ports, oil refineries, power plants and other vital facilities, including the National Water Carrier and the gleaming, world-class Ben- Gurion International Airport, all having been made possible in significant measure by the work of Israel Bonds’ devoted professional staff and lay leadership.
Yet the construction of infrastructure is not the whole story. Over the years, Bonds has attracted to its ranks a diverse cross-section of Diaspora Jewry, individuals representing secular organizations and religious streams alike, all drawn closer to the land and people of Israel by participation in Bonds campaigns. Further, the very act of purchasing an Israel Bond demonstrates the belief that Israel is fully capable of meeting its financial obligations.
Surely, most people, save those few viewing the issue through an uninformed or distorted lens, must welcome the continued existence of an organization that from its beginning has brought more than $31 billion into the Israeli economy and today raises funds in excess of $1 billion a year.
New York/Herzliya Pituah