July 1: Floating an idea

Far-reaching solutions must be applied to achieve results in Gaza.

Floating an ideaSir, – Regarding the easing of restrictions on Gaza (“Security officials fear gov’t will lift ban on Gaza exports,” June 30), I and others hope this will be the beginning of a sound development. But more far-reaching solutions must be applied to achieve results.
I am part of a group of people from business and other professions who have established a small company in Norway called Gaza Post AS, whose sole purpose is to open a floating harbor two kilometers off the coast of Gaza. The floating harbor would consist of ships under Norwegian flag at anchor.
On a vessel receiving containers with goods, Israeli inspectors would make sure (as they do today at the Karni border crossing) that no weapons or materials for weapons reach Gaza. There would be a ship to receive goods for export from Gaza, on which there would be no restrictions. This would give a boost to exports, completely changing the atmosphere.
We have been led to understand that Egypt would totally close the tunnels when such conditions for Gaza are established.
Israel would have substantially better security than today: There would be the same control of goods going into Gaza, no security risk with goods leaving Gaza, and no more weapons coming in through the tunnels.
For Gazans, there would be an “opening to the world” and hope. There would be job possibilities for young people. A more normal society would develop, which would diminish the influence of radical movements.
For all concerned, we hope Israel will quickly allow the establishment of the floating harbor.
    BJARNE SCHIRMER     Drammen, Norway
Watch closelySir, – About the letter “Horrifying statistics” (June 29), it is long overdue for Gilad Schalit to be free. When we release the terrorists in exchange, we will just have to watch them very carefully, and at the slightest indication that they might return to terror, rearrest them.
    HEDY RESNICK    Savyon
Israel not the addressSir, – To think that we can potentially release terrorists who may live to kill Israelis again is reason enough for second thought (“The agonizing Schalit debate,” Editorial, June 28).
There is no doubt that all Israelis, both in and out of government, want Schalit freed from captivity. The question remains as to where our pleas are aimed.
I believe all efforts should be aimed at the so-called humanitarian groups, the Red Cross and the UN, and not at our own government. These hypocritical groups have constantly ignored Hamas’s wanton bombing of Israeli towns and dismissed its talk of destroying us, and have not insisted on seeing the soldier.
In addition, I would add President Obama to the list, as he recently made comments that clearly support the continuation of a Hamas-led government in Gaza.
The situation in Gaza is a direct result of Hamas’s actions. In addition, Gazans themselves voted for Hamas over Fatah and should reap the benefits.
The world has to be made aware of its own duplicity when it comes to Israel. The best way of doing this is through the continued demand to release Schalit. Our arguments for the basic rights of any prisoner are unassailable and depict Hamas for what it really is and what it stands for.
    VEL WERBLOWSKY     Jerusalem
Out of the tunnelSir, – With all due respect, I think that Avi Shafran misses the entire point (“Ethnic prejudice in Emmanuel neither ethnic nor prejudice,” June 28). He’s caught up and “tunnel-visioned” in the whole ethnic Ashkenazi/Sephardi aspect of this story and trying with great desperation to justify it.
That haredi parents – be they Ashkenazi or Sephardi – have the right to choose how to educate their children is not the issue. Shafran’s right in that. It’s in the way they’ve gone about it that is unacceptable on every imaginable level.
The real issue here is that a wall was erected in a school to separate girls according to their religious levels, and that if no one had bothered to bring this to the public’s attention, the wall would still be standing.
I, for one, cannot stop thinking about Rosa Parks’s refusal to sit at the back of the bus. We’ve supposedly come a long way from that – or so we thought.
It would do us all a load of good to remember that the Temple was destroyed because of sinat hinam (baseless hatred) and that the last thing this country needs is for the rest of the world to witness outright hatred and blatant racist behavior by Jews toward their fellow man.
    CHAVI FELDMAN    Hashmonaim
Blurred bordersSir, – Please reserve your bias to your editorial pages and do not include them in your news pages.
On June 6, you mentioned “left-wing participants” at a rally objecting to Israel’s raid on the peace flotilla (“‘Gov’t drowning the public,’ Tel Aviv protest charges”). Why are they “left-wing?” They were simply demonstrating for a more rational Israeli policy toward Gaza.
In describing the peace flotilla elsewhere, you have called the participants “a group of mercenaries.” Since a mercenary is a person hired to fight for a country other than his own, you must have evidence. But you present no evidence.
Maybe in Israel it is acceptable to blur the borders between reporting and opinion. In most civilized countries it is not.
    SIMON LUCAS     Warsaw
Things stay the sameSir, – We Israelis love to observe anniversaries. The following is a quote from the official Knesset records of May 26, 1970 (that is 40 years ago), in which MK Moshe Carmel, a former commander of the Carmeli Brigade and minister of transportation, said the following during a debate on a statement by the prime minister on foreign policy and defense:
“I do not agree... with the view that we have taken all possible initiatives concerning peace. I am sure that the fundamental stand of the government is correct, that it is on the road to peace, and that the government wholeheartedly strives toward peace. But I do not agree that every initiative that could have been taken was indeed taken.”
Regretfully, not much appears to have changed in the ensuring four decades. The settlement enterprise is forging ahead as resolutely as ever. It can only be explained by a determination on our part to hold on to the conquered territories at any cost.
The puzzled citizen may wonder: Where are we heading? What are ourchances to survive as a Jewish state in this overwhelmingly Muslim partof the world? Is there any reason to believe that our present militarysuperiority will remain unchallenged? Or would it perhaps be wise toattempt to find a modus vivendi with our neighbors while the balance ofpower is still in our favor?
To paraphrase Moshe Carmel’s advice of four decades ago, perhaps itmight be prudent on our part to react officially to the present peaceinitiative of the Arab League or, even better, to launch a practicaland realistic initiative of our own.
Getting a rise
Sir, – Of late there have been a number of letters criticizing in oneway or another the author of your “Rattling the Cage” columns. In mostcases I agree with them, yet I never fail to read the column. At my ageit is good do something that raises the blood pressure to the pointwhere I can stand up in the morning.
I have no idea to what degree the author is concerned or even upset bythese letters. Most likely he feels like P.T. Barnum, who said, “Idon’t care what they say about me, just make sure they spell my nameright!”
Is that right, Mr. Zerfner?
    Ma’ale Adumim