December 11: Point of view

What happens to the dozens of truckloads of goods delivered daily to Gaza from Israel?

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Point of view
Sir, – When I read “Egypt tunnel blockade takes toll on Gaza businesses” (December 10), I was sure it had been lifted from the pages of “Hot off the Arab press,” the weekly feature that appears in The Jerusalem Post Magazine.
Reuters reporter Nidal al-Mughrabi has us reading how awful the situation is in Gaza and how, due to the shuttering of the “smuggling tunnels,” people have fallen on such harsh economic times. The distress is purported to be terrible, the Gaza community being “choked off” by Israel and Egypt. One poor businessman is quoted as saying that last month “he was forced to pay NIS 60,000 for Israeli fuel to power his four generators.”
How sad that he would actually have to pay for fuel! What happens to the dozens of truckloads of goods delivered daily to Gaza from Israel? What happens to the millions of dollars funneled into Gaza from European countries and other areas of the world? Did these people ever stop to think why they need “smuggling tunnels” in the first place? They voted-in Hamas many years ago as their “rightful and legitimate” leaders. Well, you get what you asked for.
ZE’EV M. SHANDALOV Ma’aleh Adumim
Not realistic
Sir, – With regard to Caroline B. Glick’s superb political analysis of US President Barack Obama’s remarks at the Saban Forum (“Obama’s four-state solution,” Our World, December 10), I would like to comment on the economic aspects of Obama’s remarks, specifically his prediction that if we make peace with the PLO, the Gazans will have an incentive to make peace, too.
The president asserted that if there will be peace in Judea and Samaria and the area flourishes economically, becoming a dividend for peace, then “that’s something that the young people of Gaza are going to want. And the pressure that will be placed for the residents of Gaza to experience that same future is something that is going to be I think overwhelmingly appealing.”
If only this were a realistic prediction.
It relies on basic economic theory, assuming that the subjects are rational people who have an incentive to maximize their own well-being as measured by consumption and productivity.
Repeated bitter experience has shown that our neighbors are not motivated by these goals. What is the Palestinian culture seeking to maximize? Unfortunately, it is not their well-being, but our destruction.
Remember what happened to the very profitable greenhouses in Gaza that were left intact for the good of local residents? Instead of operating these valuable assets, they destroyed them in short order, using the metal for weapons.
Never mind that it is the height of political incorrectness to discuss cultural differences. One cannot propose political solutions that rest on the illusion that we share “common values” with our neighbors and that they will respond to various incentives similar to many other societies that do, in fact, share these values.
Only when statesmen toiling to propose terms for a peace agreement are willing to truly accept the profound differences in values between us so that they can accurately predict how the young people of Gaza or Judea and Samaria will respond to various “incentives” or scenarios will there be any chance for peace. Israel, as a rational society, has absolutely no incentive to take life-threatening risks based on delusional predictions of how our counterparts will behave.
Let them go!
Sir, – Regarding “BIU group petitions against Israeli students’ upcoming meeting with Abbas” (December 9), what danger to the country is there in a peaceful visit to Ramallah? It won’t advance the dying peace negotiations, but it will show that there are some young people who are not beholden to the religious and anti-peace Right.
The right-wing never misses an opportunity to thwart the little chance of any viable solution.
Akiva Lamm, give these students a chance!
HENRY WEIL Jerusalem
 Fab (British) Four
Sir, – “Twist and Shout causes Beatles fans to ‘come together’ in Tel Aviv” (Arts & Entertainment, December 9) begins with the following sentence: “Perhaps no era of American history is more romanticized, missed and cherished than the 1960s.” What has American history to do with the phenomenon of the Beatles, other than their professional success there, as elsewhere in the world? The article distinctly and erroneously gives the impression of their Americanization. Yet they were all born and bred, and began their professional lives, in the quintessentially British city of Liverpool, as was the man who discovered and first managed them, Brian Epstein.
They were a UK phenomenon, self-exported successfully around the world. The US might rightly claim welcoming them, but it certainly did not invent them!
The writer’s pique might be due to the fact that he made aliya from Manchester, which is “just down the Manchester Ship Canal” from Liverpool What’s so bizarre? Sir, – The sophistry of the arguments and duplicity of leftist NGOs are well manifested in Tal Harris’s “Before the government campaigns against itself” (Comment & Features, December 8).
Harris protests against the communities of Judea and Samaria for contributing municipal funds to the Yesha Council, which employs some of these monies to campaign against any treaty or government action that entails the evacuation of the community’s residents. In their order of priorities, these residents have chosen to allocate municipal allotments toward activities that oppose the destruction of their homes and means of livelihood, as well as their expulsion from their communities, and not toward sewage improvements and pothole repairs.
Harris criticizes as “bizarre” the Supreme Court ruling that allows local authorities to fund “political campaigns, provided they are used to protect the interests of their own residents.” Conversely, he cites that the mayors of Haifa, Tel Aviv and Beersheba would not spend monies for advertising in favor of an agreement that would result in an evacuation. He doesn’t recognize that a significant portion of the residents of those cities would oppose such a solution, while another significant percentage couldn’t care less about settlers and would opt for spending their municipal allocation for road and sewage disposal.
While bemoaning the objections to foreign funding of peace-oriented NGOs, Harris, hypocritically, is located in the US, ostensibly lobbying and raising funds for his left-wing organization.
Couldn’t have signed
Sir, – I refer to a full-page advertisement that appeared on Page 5 of the December 4 issue of The Jerusalem Post. The advertisement, an open letter to US Secretary of State John Kerry, purports to be signed or endorsed by a number of rabbis of communities and institutions around Israel.
Listed among the signatories is “Rabbi David A. Spector, Chief Rabbi Nokdim.”
Rabbi Spector was at one time chief rabbi of Nokdim, but for the past 15 years, until his untimely and tragic death earlier this year, he was the beloved rabbi of Kehillat Ohel Yona Menachem in Beit Shemesh, rabbi of the city’s Givat Sharett neighborhood, and a widely respected member of the Beit Shemesh Rabbinical Council.
The content of the advertisement and whether I agree with it or not are irrelevant to the purpose of this letter. I find the use of Rabbi Spector’s name endorsing a political statement prompted by events that occurred after his death to be extremely distasteful, if not offensive. It could indicate a cynical and deliberate case of misleading the general public, and at best calls into question the bona fides of the organization that (presumably) paid for the advertisement.
Beit Shemesh