February 3: Implications for Israel

If the Mubarak regime falls, any new govt will turn away from its cooperation with Israel – especially if ElBaradei attains power.

Implications for Israel
Sir, – With regard to “PM warns against radical Islamic takeover in Egypt” (February 1), if the Mubarak regime falls, any new government will turn away from its cooperation with Israel – especially if Mohamed ElBaradei attains power. Some suggest he is a pro- Western visionary who believes in democracy and has the international profile to make a real impact in Egypt. I am much more pessimistic.
If ElBaradei becomes the next leader of Egypt, he will be beholden to the Muslim Brotherhood and will most likely end the peace agreement with Israel, taking away part of the foundation for peace in the region. His survival will depend upon this.
Israel may also lose a formidable ally against Iran. Two years ago, Hosni Mubarak laid out his intentions to develop a nuclear weapons program to defend Egypt from Iran. Sadly, ElBaradei doesn’t share such views, and there have been numerous reports that he cozied up to Teheran and distorted evidence showing it has an active nuclear weapons program. France even accused him of covering this up.
Carlisle, Pennsylvania
Sir, – Israel has to face five borders, namely Hamas-controlled Gaza, Hizbullah-controlled Lebanon, as well as Syria, Jordan and Egypt.
Syria recently engaged in a military pact with Iran, while Turkey has promised to come to Syria’s aid if a conflict arises with Israel. King Abdullah of Jordan recently made overtures and visits to Iran to ensure that his nation will not become isolated. In addition, the recent events in Tunisia, and now in Egypt, have seen Iranian religious leaders declare that an Islamic Middle East is about to emerge.
It is not rocket science to recognize the dangers confronting the Jewish state, which stands like an island in the midst of pending Islamism, as well as the fragile nature of existing peace treaties with Jordan and Egypt.
The world responds by demanding that Israel cede its heartland to create another border. While many nations clamor to recognize Palestine along the lines of 1967, any issues pertaining to Israel’s security or negotiated borders, such as the Oslo Accords or the road map, are expediently forgotten.
The attitude of the nations toward the Arab and Islamic world can be summed up in one word: appeasement.
Tredegar, UK

Eschew obfuscation
Sir, – I am pleased to hear that possible US presidential candidate Mike Huckabee supports our right to live anywhere in this country (“Huckabee evokes right of Jews to live in all of Israel,” February 1).
However, politicians often engage in double talk in order to court specific voting sectors. So, to be absolutely clear, Huckabee needs to publicly define his geographical understanding of “all of Israel.”
Is Ma’aleh Adumim in Israel? Ariel, Har Homa, Neveh Daniel, Tekoa? Or will this be clarified after a presidential win?

No uncertain terms
Sir, – Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu deserves open praise for being able to stand up to the chancellor of Germany and explain in no uncertain terms that settlements are not the cause of turmoil with the Palestinians (“PM, Merkel disagree openly on settlements.” February 1).
Angela Merkel and Germany are “good friends” of Israel in 2011, and members of her government came to seal trade and cultural ties, which are important. However, she reiterated the canard about Israeli settlements, and we must be grateful to our prime minister for revealing his love of Israel and his total commitment to its security.

Give her a break
Sir, – I only partially agree with what Jeff Barak says in his January 31 Reality Check column (“Israeli democracy needs a checkup”). I refer to what was said regarding the fact that “Kadima is nothing more than a home for political opportunists on the center-right and center-left, with nothing to unite them.” This was proven the moment Ariel Sharon undemocratically decided to form a new political party in order to achieve his agenda – the disastrous disengagement – which went directly against his Likud party’s stance and the views of those who voted him in.
How anyone with moral and political clarity could be part of Kadima is beyond me, but for Barak to call those demanding that foreign groups supporting leftwing, anti-IDF and anti-Israel activities in Israel (and outside Israel) undemocratic is to me ridiculous.
Give me a break. I, for one, want to remain living here, in my democratic Israel, which gives much freedom to the many who criticize it. I reject the notion that Israel should cowardly “turn the other cheek’ to those who constantly try to undermine its very existence.
Beit Shemesh
Sir, – I always believed that democracy meant “of the people, by the people and for the people.” Growing up in Britain, we had representation, whereby if a citizen had a gripe he could always have access to his elected representative.
Thirty years ago, MK Chaim Herzog, then chairman of the Committee of Concerned Citizens (for Electoral Reform), held a regular “surgery” in Herzliya to set an example for others to follow. Electoral reform is still a dream; achieving it in our present political climate is a nightmare.
Jeff Barak is right in his analysis, that the public seems to have blinkers on. We who emanate from Western countries would never have acquiesced to laws that prevent freedom of choice and expression. We were brought up to respect minorities (as we ourselves once were). We did not fear investigations at the government level for activities we carried out in the spirit of true democracy.
We are at a crossroads internally, and every one of us needs to take a position and stand behind it. Choose carefully whom you really want to represent you.
Let’s hope that the rebirth of the Labor Party – without whose institutions the fledgling State of Israel may never have taken off – will provide a real home for those seeking a stable and focused leadership, a united leadership in which every citizen in Israel will be treated with equal respect and opportunity, and will in turn contribute positively to society.

Tel Aviv

Wrong on UNRWA
Sir, – Caroline Glick’s “The wars of 2011” (Our World, December 28) makes unsubstantiated, incorrect and damaging allegations against UNRWA, namely that the agency “openly acknowledges that it employs terrorists, allows its schools and camps to be used as jihad indoctrination centers, training camps and missile launching pads.”
Nothing could be further from the truth.
UNRWA’s track record on enforcing a zero-tolerance neutrality policy is a matter of public record. The agency’s mission is firmly grounded in neutral humanitarian principles that our staff are obligated to embrace and practice. We implement a strict “no politics” policy and where any staff are found to have been engaged in activities incompatible with our neutrality regulations, disciplinary action is taken, up to and including dismissal.
We inspect our installations regularly for breaches of neutrality. We are transparent with our major donors and report, to their satisfaction, on the many processes and mechanisms we have in place to ensure neutrality.
Our commitment to and practice of neutrality is held independently of any donor requirements. As a United Nations agency, scrupulous neutrality is essential to our ability to function in the politically charged environment of the Middle East.
The writer is UNRWA’s spokesperson