June 16: The big question now

There it is - endorsement of the two-state solution, a vision, a dream that, if fulfilled, will break a 61-year impasse and set the stage for the type of peace most rational Israelis have been dreaming of.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Sir, - To quote from Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech: "I envision two peoples living freely, side by side, in amity and mutual respect" ("PM calls for demilitarized Palestinian state," June 15). There it is - endorsement of the two-state solution, a vision, a dream that, if fulfilled, will break a 61-year impasse and set the stage for the type of peace most rational Israelis have been dreaming of. The big question now is whether President Obama can get Mahmoud Abbas to say the same thing, to endorse a two-state solution, one state Palestinian and the other Jewish. We have witnessed a baby step forward on the long road to solving a gigantic problem. Israel has been lucky in that its prime ministers have been able to put aside their own personal ideology and make decisions they considered in the best interest of the country. The least we can do is give our leader the support he deserves. P. BERMAN Shoham Sir, - Barack Obama got applauded 37 times in over an hour. Bibi scored 15 times in under half an hour. M. VAN THIJN Jerusalem Sir, - There are aspects of Netanyahu's speech that some will love and others will deplore. Some will say he spoke well, others that he shouldn't even have tried. However, the worst thing about his speech is that it seems there are no Palestinian, or any other Arab leaders who are ready to pick up the ball by embracing the common ground and demonstrating that they, too, truly want peace ("PA: Netanyahu has buried peace process," June 15). It's no wonder, then, that they don't have it. JONATHAN FELDSTEIN Efrat Sir, - Imagine a one-on-one meeting between PM Netanyahu and his Palestinian counterpart. Netanyahu: You want us to return all the land up to the '67 borders. Why should we do that? Abbas: Because it's ours. Netanyahu: Are you suggesting that had it been the other way around and the Arabs had defeated Israel in '48 or '67, you would have returned the land to us? Abbas: Of course not. Netanyahu: Well, why not? Abbas: Because it's ours. I believe the above imaginary conversation accurately expresses the Palestinian position. Israel must keep that in mind whenever it contemplates any concessions, even at President Obama's behest. I can understand the PA fury over PM Netanyahu's speech. A concession tied to unacceptable conditions is no concession at all. On the other hand, the Arabs must understand that their "peace plan" is also tied to conditions Israel cannot accept: a divided Jerusalem, the '67 borders, and the right of return. Since both sides consider their positions reasonable and non-negotiable, the chances of an agreement in the short term are nil and Obama should look elsewhere for immediate foreign policy successes. In the long term, positions might change. Alternative energy sources will render petroleum obsolete, and consequently Arab leverage upon the West will vanish. Abbas's descendants might then wish he had been more flexible. ZVI STONE Jerusalem Sir, - For the life of me, I cannot understand the ferocity and absolute refusal to recognize a Jewish state. Though I firmly believe in the right of the Palestinians to their state and would urge Israel to follow President Obama's diktat for Israel to accept the idea of "two states for two peoples," I cannot accept the Palestinians' stubborn refusal to accept that we Israelis are also entitled to our state. It's as though the last 60 years didn't exist in their minds. Now that Netanyahu has uttered the words "Palestinian state," albeit a demilitarized one, I believe Obama must now press the Palestinians to utter the words "Jewish state" and get together with us to iron out the details. I believe he was absolutely right in pressing Bibi to accept a Palestinian state. Now the shoe is on the other foot, and he has to go after the Palestinians just as hard. That is the fair and right thing to do. LEONARD ZURAKOV Netanya Sir, - May God bless you, Prime Minister Netanyahu. You could not have spoken better. MICHAEL PLASKOW Netanya Revelation of deep bias Sir, - Jeff Barak displays no pride, but much prejudice ("Netanyahu's lost opportunity," June 15). Obama is not "an American president who feels the need to jump to attention every time Netanyahu wants to relay a message." Apart from the fact that there has never been such a president, Barak apparently thinks Netanyahu should be the one who should jump to attention. Had Barak had the opportunity of first reading the article by Charles Krauthammer on the same page ("Obama surveys the world"), he might have thought twice before recommending such obedience. Barak's terminology reveals his deep bias. Yitzhak Shamir was "probably the worst prime minister in Israel's history." Bar-Ilan University is damned because "Yitzhak Rabin's assassin was educated there." This sounds like the man who hates all Jews because of one miscreant. Barak's horror at Netanyahu daring to ignore Obama's demand for a settlement freeze reminds me of the craven attitude that led to WWII; and Netanyahu's address, telling the truth and delivered with measured logic, reminded me of Winston Churchill at his best. MEIR ABELSON Beit Shemesh Having self-respect isn't being dumb Sir, - Ury Eppstein accuses "Israeli politically motivated functionaries" who are as "dumb as the Nazi leadership" in preventing the performance of Wagner here (Concert Review, June 15). I was the applicant in High Court application 6032/00, which resulted in a decision banning the performance of Wagner on Israeli public radio. I was not being "dumb" (I will ignore the invidious bad taste of the comparison). It was because Wagner was one of the fathers of modern anti-Semitism. It was he who inspired Hitler to say: "Wagner is my only spiritual mentor," and who advocated physical destruction of the Jews. When Jews were burnt to death in a theater, his laughing response was "A good way to get rid of rats"; he approved of the Czarist pogrom by saying it was "a praiseworthy action." Der Stuermer editor Julius Streicher was hanged at Nuremberg for calling for the destruction of Jews. Had Wagner been alive at the time, he too would have been in the dock. Today, his place is certainly not in an Israeli concert hall. LOUIS GARB Jerusalem Tottenham is life Sir, - Noch a professor admits to it ("A Tottenham Yid in Israel," David Newman, June 15). Alan Sugar, previous chairman of the mighty Spurs, said of the abundance of doctors and lawyers who sit around him at each game that they metamorphose into Neanderthals, and themselves cannot believe their Saturday PM behavior once back at their desks on Monday morning. My friends: Tottenham is life, the rest is mere detail. MARTIN THFC LEWIS Hod Hasharon Not just New York Sir, - Readers like Varda Epstein are justifiably excited that The Jerusalem Post's quality journalism is now being published in a special New York edition ("New York, New York!" Letters. June 14). We are happy to note that readers outside the Big Apple need not feel deprived: The International Jerusalem Post is available to subscribers around the globe. First published in September 1959, the Post's international edition continues to bring readers the best of the paper's news, opeds and features in a 32-page, weekly edition. (Editorial: ijp@jpost.com; subscriptions: subsna@jpost.com) LIAT COLLINS, Editor The International Jerusalem Post Jerusalem