July 15: Possible ways out...

Israel should announce that it is perfectly willing to declare a cease-fire with Hamas under certain terms.

A Palestinian tunnel in Gaza.  (photo credit: REUTERS)
A Palestinian tunnel in Gaza.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Possible ways out...
Sir, – Israel should announce that it is perfectly willing to declare a cease-fire with Hamas under the following terms: • An international force will enter Gaza and oversee the removal of all rockets, missiles, mortars and other weapons intended for use against Israel, though not those for the preservation of internal peace (such as pistols and rifles).
• Another force will undertake the destruction of all the cross-border tunnels.
• Israel reserves the right to perform an inspection to verify that these forces have performed their job to its satisfaction.
At the same time, Israel should remind the rest of the world that the present violence emanating from Gaza cannot be justified as opposition to “occupation,” since Israel unilaterally returned Gaza to the Arabs in 2005.
Petah Tikva
Sir, – I would like to propose that Israel inform the Palestinian Authority that it is prepared for an unconditional, unlimited cease fire. This includes no smuggling or use of weapons, no tunnels, no kidnappings or any offensive action of any sort.
If accepted, Israel will discus the following: • An open border with Gaza and the free movement of goods and services • Permission for people to enter and work in Israel • The encouragement of investment, development and tourism.
The smallest infringement, though, will cancel these benefits.
This is a win-win situation. If the idea is rejected outright, I give up! I came to Israel aged 21, and now at 87 have seen everything and done just about everything.
Here’s hoping for peace and quiet.
...and a thank you
Sir, – Rockets from Gaza headed toward civilian areas are being shot down by the Iron Dome defense system. We owe a sincere thanks to US President Barack Obama and Congress for their aid and support in Iron Dome’s development.
Even as the US defense budget was considerably cut, the Iron Dome budget was increased. If not for Iron Dome we would probably be deeply involved in a land war with completely different casualty numbers.
One might disagree with the US president at times, as I do, but we should still be able to thank him for his aid.
The writer is chief rabbi of Dimona.
Pay attention
Sir, – Philip Gordon, the White House coordinator for the Middle East, spoke at Haaretz’s recent Israel Conference on Peace. His words deserve careful consideration.
Gordon warned Israel that to “maintain military control of another people” would “tear at Israel’s democratic fabric and feed mutual dehumanization.”
He reiterated that the final borders should be based on the 1967 lines with agreed-upon swaps. He implied that Israel was still not seen as committed to peace, and disagreed with the Israeli assessment that it would have to keep control of the Jordan Valley.
We have seen how well things have worked out in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Iran and Afghanistan. Same for the Obama administration’s backing of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. And the Palestinian Authority’s axis with Hamas, accepted by the administration along with the financial support for this state-in-the-making, has certainly increased the peace and quiet throughout the area.
We should listen carefully when Mr. Gordon chastises Israel for denying the Palestinians what any civilized nation whose back the administration is watching should give. His words deserve careful consideration as it is coming from an administration that has chalked up numerous successes in its foreign policy.
Where wisdom abounds, pay attention!
New York
Pity unnecessary
Sir, – Pity the poor Israeli Arabs, says MK Nachman Shai (“Everything will NOT be okay,” Observations, July 11). Does he mean the ones who cheered the kidnapping and murder of our three boys or the ones who beat up Jews at intersections and set fire to their cars? None of that is anything new.
Without a doubt, Israel’s Arabs are the most free in the Middle East. Enter any hospital or pharmacy to see their professionals at work. If they are disadvantaged, they are just one of several groups in Israel with problems. Ours is not a perfect society.
Shai’s fixation on bettering the lot of Israeli Arabs is misplaced. I, for one, am more concerned with the harm they are doing to Israel.
Alfei Menashe
A boy’s slaying
Sir, – Regarding the killing of 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir (“6 Jewish nationalists arrested in slaying of east Jerusalem teen,” July 7), I think at this point all of us are ready to bury our heads in shame. What a despicable act on the part of a few Jewish extremists! How could they brand the term “Jew” with such a terrifying act? Do we have to lower ourselves to the lowest possible level of wild beasts, without a sense of humanity, without a conscience? It absolutely terrifies me that a so-called God-fearing Jew could blaspheme the Torah, the Jewish People, the State of Israel in such a horrendous manner.
I would like to call on all of us that we find ways to disassociate ourselves from such a shuddering act of blasphemy. We could write to our newspaper telling how we feel. We could organize a protest demonstration. We could arrange a tearful prayer service to beg forgiveness from our forefathers that we allowed the term “Jew” to be so smeared and so defamed by our inaction.
I personally feel a great need to do something. We should not be silent bystanders to the evil in our midst.
Sir, – What a sight! In the midst of senseless Arab rioting throughout Israel, 600 Israelis/Jews line up to proclaim to those gathered in the Abu Khdeir mourning tent that “we are different” (“Mass Jewish, Arab solidarity gathering in capital deteriorates into invective,” July 9).
As if only they, and not every Israeli from the prime minister down didn’t condemn the depraved murder of 16-year-old Mohammad and all victims of terrorism, who usually are Jewish Israelis.
Faced with a speech of “political invective,” participant Robby Berman admitted: “I’m upset I came.”
Efraim Avishaul, who took a day off work, confessed: “I feel stupid for coming.”
I am curious to know whether Ron Kronish and his Tag Meir companions hired buses and made condolence visits to the families of Eyal Yifrah, Gil-Ad Shaer and Naftali Fraenkel.
Wake up guys! Dream all you want, but don’t lose touch with reality.
Sir, – We have been witness to reactions to the effect that “Jews don’t do such things.” This is dishonest because Jews are doing such things quite regularly.
Jewish men murder their wives, Jewish parents murder their children, Jewish sons murder their mothers, Jewish gangsters murder one another along with innocent bystanders, Jewish youths murder each other over triflings at pubs and parks, often as acts of revenge. Who says Jews don’t do such things? It is also dishonest to claim that the murder of the Arab boy goes against Jewish tradition. Just look at the books of the prophets for vicious acts of privately initiated revenge far in excess of the murder of one innocent boy.
Finally, it is pure racism to think that such acts are beyond the realm of possibility for a Jewish person. There is no reason to believe so.
Tel Aviv