June 8: Greek apology

The Greek government unreservedly condemns the attack against Jerusalem Post reporter Gil Shefler.

Greek apology
Sir, –The Greek government unreservedly condemns the attack against Jerusalem Post reporter Gil Shefler by a small group of unidentified extremists in Athens on Tuesday evening. The police are conducting a thorough investigation into this incident, to find the culprits and bring them to justice.
Immediately after the incident, Mr. Shefler was rushed to hospital by the Greek authorities, where he was treated and then discharged in good condition.
I would like to stress that this attack constitutes an isolated incident and is in no way indicative of the overall situation in Athens, where citizens and visitors enjoy a safe, secure and hospitable environment.
Furthermore, such incidents do not reflect nor do they represent the values and traditions of the Greek people, who have fought hard in their history not only for freedom, but also for the freedom of thought and expression, non-discrimination and tolerance.
It is to these principles that we stand firm and that any visitor to Greece will encounter upon their arrival.
KYRIAKOS LOUKAKIS Ambassador of Greece
Myths and facts
Sir, – Gerald Steinberg (“The myths of 1967 and today’s realities,” Comment & Features, June 6) notes correctly that Jordan illegally occupied the West Bank between 1948 and 1967. He also repeatedly refers to Israel’s “occupation” of that area from 1967 to the present.
If indeed the West Bank has been under foreign occupation since 1948, who exactly is or was the true sovereign power? “Palestine,” perhaps? Of course not – never in history was there such a state.
The Ottoman Empire was the sovereign power in Palestine until 1918, when it was defeated in World War One. Sovereignty over Palestine then passed to the British Mandate, created by the world powers of that time specifically as a trustee for the future “Jewish national home,” what we call Israel today.
Israel’s sovereign rights to this home, which also includes Judea and Samaria, were firmly anchored in international law then and remain so until today. Thus, Israel cannot “occupy” land that is rightfully hers.
Steinberg sets out to examine the myths of 1967 yet perpetuates that most pernicious and stubborn myth of all – that Israel is somehow the occupying power in the West Bank.
Sir, – In an obscure and unfocused op-ed piece by Gerald M. Steinberg, one sentence stands out because of its remarkable definitive certainty.
According to Steinberg, in 1977 then-prime minister Menachem Begin “rejected calls for annexation” of Judea and Samaria.
To the best of my knowledge this assertion is false. As such, I would ask you to either correct the record or to ask Steinberg to provide us with the appropriate citation.
Gerald M. Steinberg responds: Menachem Begin served as prime minister from 1977 through 1983. During these years the status and future of Judea, Samaria and Gaza were central issues, including in negotiations with Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and US president Jimmy Carter. At no time did Begin move toward or express any support for annexation for the reasons stated in my article.
Rather, he pursued an autonomy framework for the Arab population while maintaining Israeli sovereignty and security control over the territories.
Lost invitations?
Sir, – Regarding “Queen Elizabeth joins giant jubilee armada in London “ (June 5), if there is one person from Israel who should be invited to the British queen’s celebration it is my father, Zvi (Henry) Freedman, of Kiryat Tivon. I think he can claim to be the only “Israeli Brit” who took part in the parade marking her coronation.
The year was 1952. He was serving in the British army and, being Londonborn, in the 4th Royal Tank Regiment in the Canal Zone. If his memory serves him correctly, the salute was taken by Gen. Sir John Harding.
Sir, – I last saw Elizabeth in 1946 while she was still a princess and driving down Market Street in Johannesburg with her father, mother and sister.
Since her coronation she has made 115 official visits overseas. Israel is one of the very few countries not on the list. I would like to know from our Foreign Minister whether her majesty has ever received an official invitation.
Tel Mond