March 11: Damage control?

The question is: Is east Jerusalem part of Israel or not?

Damage control?
Sir, – Defense Minister Ehud Barak says the plan to build housing in east Jerusalem is “damaging” (“‘R. Shlomo plan’s timing regrettable,’” Online Edition, March 10). The question is: Is east Jerusalem part of Israel or not? If it is, then Israel and her citizens can build anything they want, whenever they want. Joe Biden doesn’t tell the mayor of Philadelphia what he can or cannot build on Market Street.
Once again, Israel should stop apologizing for its existence.
ABE KRIEGER Philadelphia, PA
Still building – for Jews only
Sir, – Construction continues apace in Jewish-only West Bank settlements, in spite of the “construction freeze” (“Barak unfreezes 112 settler homes,” March 9). At least 33 settlements – 25% – consistently, flagrantly continue building, flaunting the law, exceeding the 3,000 acknowledged “exceptions” built into the freeze.
The government does nothing. Half the violating 33 settlements receive significant financial aid via the government’s “priority list.” Now, 112 housing units have been approved in one settlement “for safety and infrastructure reasons.”
Don’t Palestinians living in overcrowded conditions have “safety” needs? With Israel’s slicing, dicing, blockading, destroying Palestinian roads, don’t Palestinians deserve “infrastructure”?
And then there are 1,600 housing units approved in ultra-Orthodox east Jerusalem (“Biden rebukes Israel over Ramat Shlomo housing plan, saying it ‘undermines trust,’” March 10). A“major expansion” of roads and homes – many targeted to young couples. On land confiscated from Palestinians, for Jews only, while they prevent Palestinian neighbors from building. Don’t Palestinians marry, start families, desire a cozy place of their own?
How dare we do this, when we Jews know intimately discrimination and abandonment? How dare the government do unjust, illegal, un-Jewish acts in our name? How dare we, who have suffered so much, remain silent?
JUDY BAMBERGERO’Connor, Australia
‘Reassurances’ aren’t enough
Sir, – The current strategy of sanctions against Iran is fatally flawed (“Biden reassures Israel on Teheran,” March 10). The US, pushing for further sanctions, has a failing record of enforcing them. The Obama administration and its predecessors diplomatically, politically, practically struggled to exert American authority over foreign companies and the foreign subsidiaries of American ones outside any embargo’s reach, and giving more than $100 billion in contracts to companies doing business with Iran in recent years.
Is this the serious consequences and increasing isolation Biden is talking about?
How can Israel’s leaders do anything but act forcefully, unilaterally if necessary, and lead the international community to reduce the increasing threat posed by the Iranian nuclear program?
IAN KEOUGHToronto, Canada
Shifting political positions
Sir, – David Newman’s analysis of the continually diminishing support for left-wing parties made interesting reading (“Challenging the Left to move it” March 9). As one who has participated in every election since making aliya 32 years ago, I have tried to analyze why my political affiliations have changed, veering from left to right, where I am now firmly installed.
Newman’s views do not explain this. Rather, it is the complete understanding that the attitude of the Palestinian leaders toward peace, as expressed by their continual refusal to accept the existence of Israel as a sovereign Jewish state with historic claims to Jerusalem and, indeed, to all of the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, will not permit peace. The left-wing parties have tried to accommodate these Palestinian views, which would make it impossible to have both peace and stable Israeli security. Only support for right-wing parties, which are prepared for reasonable compromise, can ensure this.
‘We have met the enemy’
Sir, – After reading your article on Penina Conforty and her bakery in Ashdod (“Jews for Jesus baker not kosher, state argues,” March 10), I am reminded of the words of wisdom given to us by Pogo: “We have met the enemy – and he is us.”
‘Apartheid’ is bad PR
Sir, – I was born and brought up in South Africa during the apartheid era and after making aliya I still go back on regular family visits (“Not black and white,” March 7).
The word “apartheid” can only be applied to the specific situation that existed in South Africa. It is an Afrikaans word used by the white government to denote “living separately” in different tribal homelands, depending on which tribe you belonged to. It does not compare to anything in Israel or any other part of the world.
It is about time journalists and politicians used precise words for what they want to describe. Do not compare what the German Nazis did to the Jews, with anything in Israel. Do not compare the Holocaust to anything between Jews and Arabs in Israel. There is no comparison: Israel’s burglar-proofing wall against terrorists is not apartheid.
Advice to our PR people: Throw away that ridiculous ad about the camel and the appalling ad with the half-naked man and woman. Instead, take a camera crew and journalists to every hospital in Israel and interview the myriad Arab patients, asking them how the treatment is. Then interview the excellent Arab doctors and nurses. It will be a mind-boggling report and a wonderfully positive exposure for Israel .
For Christians, say, “Come to the Galilee and walk on the waters where Jesus walked and view one of the fishing boats of that time. Relax on the Mount of the Beatitudes where he gave his sermon and fed the multitudes with a few fish a loaves of bread.”
Shout out to the whole world that only since the 1967 war when the Old City of Jerusalem came under Israeli sovereignty were people of all denominations free to worship at their holy places. Before that, under Jordanian sovereignty, Jews were not allowed to worship at the Western Wall.
Remembering David Kimche
Sir, – I was a close friend of David Kimche in London, before he came to Israel (“David Kimche, 1928-2010 – the man who walked in the shadows,” March 10). It was only here that he acquired the name “Dave”; in England, he was known as “Duvid.” He was proud of being a descendent of the great grammarian and biblical commentator, Rabbi David Kimchi, who was a member of a famous family that greatly enriched our Talmudic and Hebrew literature. Following the saying, “Where there is no flour [kemach], there can be no Torah,” it was said of this family that “were it not for the Kimchis, there would be no Torah.”
Although too young to be an official delegate, his father attended the first Zionist Congress in Basel, which was presided over by Theodor Herzl.
Welcome back, Judy!
Sir, – Welcome back, Judy Montagu (“Change in the weather,” March 10)! I really missed Judy’s columns. I look forward to enjoying them again.
And yes, about spring: I know when spring is coming when I smell theorange blossoms. Everything is relative, isn’t it? I love when I seegray skies and welcome a good rain storm, knowing that we will behaving those seven months or so of clear, blue, sunny skies.
Sir, – Welcome back, Judy! A nice start to our spring, indeed.