April 20: Great power

Prime Minister Netanyahu, please choose to unite people. I know you can do it; and preserve your name in history.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Great power Sir, - We are brothers, and this is the time to get together. Prime Minister Netanyahu: You are great. You have the power to unite people and soothe their hearts - and you have the power to put hate in their hearts. Please choose to unite people. I know you can do it; and preserve your name in history ("How much wiggle room does Netanyahu have on negotiating a Palestinian state? April 17). ROBERT MELIKIAN Phoenix, Arizona Enlighten us... Sir, - Am I missing something here? ("PA, Hamas reject Netanyahu's demand to recognize Israel as state of the Jewish people," April 19). I thought that two states for two peoples meant one state for the Jews, and one for the Palestinians. If the Arabs can't accept Israel as the Jewish state, then where is the two-state solution? MEIRA SCHWARTZ Jerusalem ...please Sir, - If Palestinian leaders now regard a Jewish state as "an obstacle to peace," what can they have in mind - other than its dismantling? RONNIE STEKEL Jerusalem State of play Sir, - This is what I would say to US envoy George Mitchell: You have stated that a settlement of the Israel-Palestine problem requires the existence of two states living side by side in peace and security. One such state already exists, having been formally declared 60 years ago and described as the Jewish state by its leader, David Ben-Gurion. This was in conformity with a United Nations resolution - 181 - which referred specifically to the formation of a Jewish state. It is thus reasonable that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu should demand Palestinian recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people as a precondition for resuming the stalled peace talks ("PM to Mitchell: First, Palestinians must accept Israel as a Jewish state," April 17). However, the official representatives of the Palestinian people have persistently refused to recognize Israel as the Jewish state, claiming they only recognize Israel's right to exist. A Palestinian editor has stated that Netanyahu's demand is irrational and absurd and that no country in the world has ever demanded it be recognized on the basis of its religion. He is unaware that, religion apart, the Jewish nation, as such, has been in existence for many centuries. Mr. Mitchell: You must be aware that behind the Palestinian refusal lies the belief that at some time in the future, Israel will cease to be a Jewish state. It is thus surely incumbent upon you to obtain Palestinian authorities' agreement to Mr. Netanyahu's demand; after which negotiations can resume. MONTY M. ZION Tel Mond This is security Sir, - Israel must never agree to a two-state solution. Israel must never agree to divide Jerusalem. Continue to fear God, and all your borders will become secure - by His might and power, not the US's. Israel is the center of this world, and Our Father in heaven will protect all His people. PHIL BALBUENA Tuolumne, California Holiday jitters & other anxieties Sir, - Ruthie Blum Leibowitz's "If a tree falls..." (April 17) was of special interest to me as the widow of one of The Jerusalem Post's chief editors and columnists. I well remember those holiday jitters and anxieties about giving the readership what it deserves, namely, a timely newspaper. Ms. Blum Leibowitz answered a question that has been nagging me ever since I read the April 12 column by Allen Z. Hertz. I kept wondering, where is everyone? Why are readers not writing Letters to the Editor about Mr. Hertz's article? Of course, dummy, I said to myself after reading Ms. Blum Leibowitz: No one is at home. And if they were, would they read an article titled "How aboriginal rights shaped the 20th century?" Not likely. The 12th was Easter Sunday, and the fourth day of Pessah. And that's unfortunate , because Mr. Hertz wrote a cogent, credible piece in which the facts, though familiar to many Israelis and Jews, aren't necessarily in the front of our brains. But they are very difficult for anyone to dispute if we, the people trying to argue the case for Israel, would only remember that history recorded our right to exist, right here in Israel. Of course there are some Western pundits - and some Jews, I suppose - who are uncomfortable with the idea of the "Jewish state." But many of the historical facts in Hertz's article, and elsewhere, should by now roll from our tongues. I found one fault with Mr. Hertz's article. In his very last paragraph he fell into the trap of moral equivalence. He wrote: "Such analysis does not deny the current existence of a distinct Palestinian Arab people; nor does it claim that such a Palestinian Arab people is without rights. Rather, the conclusion is that there are rights on all sides, and that there should be a peaceful process that respectfully reconciles the right of the Palestinian Arab people with the prior rights of the Jewish people." It should also be said that no matter how much she wishes it so, until Israel is fully recognized by the Palestinian people, until there is a cessation of rockets programmed to land on Israeli soil, and until Palestinian children are raised with at least a modicum of respect for the Jews, peace will be painfully elusive. BEVERLY ADINA BAR-ILLAN Jerusalem Dietrich Bonhoeffer Sir, - On the eve of Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day, it is fitting to mention one name that seems to have escaped the designation of Righteous Among the Gentiles. Yet this individual surely paid the ultimate price for his role in not only helping several Jews exit Germany, but in also helping to plan the assassination of Adolf Hitler. I refer to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German Lutheran minister and one of the most outspoken moralists to condemn the Third Reich. Rev. Bonhoeffer died by being hanged, naked, at age 39 in the Flossenburg concentration camp on April 9, 1945, a very short time before the end of the war. Surely this brilliant, stalwart, relentless and selfless public adversary of Hitler, Eichmann and Himmler, in particular, deserves to be included among the Righteous Gentiles? Can anyone imagine how dauntingly dangerous and downright brazen it must have been for a clergyman to speak out unabashedly on public radio condemning the ghastliness and immorality of the Third Reich? I have written to Yad Vashem to enquire about this matter. YOEL NITZARIM Skokie Brothers in opposition Sir, - With all the war memories of this commemorative period upon us, I remembered a letter you published on November 7 last year recalling a time "when Jew fought Jew, for somebody else's country, before we had a country of our own to defend." I was reminded of my late father, born in the village of Zeilitzheim, Northern Bavaria. He served in the German army during the First World War and enjoyed telling this story, which was widely circulated after the war: A French soldier and a German soldier faced each other on the front during WWI. As they raised their guns to shoot, one heard the other saying, "Shema Yisrael." He lowered his weapon and finished: "Hashem Elokeinu, Hashem Echod." Both men dropped their guns, hugged each other, and returned to their units. HERBERT SELIG Jerusalem