March 12: Yesh Din's Aims

Your representation of both Yesh Din and the Israeli mainstream is inaccurate.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Yesh Din's aims Sir, - Your representation of both Yesh Din and the Israeli mainstream is inaccurate ("Israel's latest crime," Editorial, March 11). Yesh Din is not advocating a total Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, nor does it express indifference to the security threats Israel faces. Mainstream Israeli opinion, which you claim Yesh Din works against, is in fact in favor of a two-state solution. While it is perhaps easy to smirk at the notion that, bereft of rocks, Palestinians would be unable to build a state, it is hard to deny that stolen land, settler violence and a lack of due legal process (all issues with which Yesh Din deals) make state-building hard. Why is a group which promotes the values on which our country was founded considered to pose such a threat to Israel? By working for a situation in which all people's rights are protected, we move a little closer to the possibility of two states and our only chance for peace and security. LEORA GARTON Tel Aviv Sir, - The argument that the West Bank is "not occupied" but "disputed" territory, as your editorial asserts, is hackneyed, obsolete and irrelevant. Never mind that the editorial did not mention that Israel's Supreme Court, in addition to the international community and its legal establishments, views Israel's "presence" in the West Bank for most intents and purposes as belligerent occupation; or that the crucial point in this "dispute" is not that Jordan's sovereignty over the territory was not recognized, but that Israel itself had no previous sovereignty over the territory, thereby extending and establishing military rule to land beyond its own recognized boundaries. What matters is the de-facto reality on the ground: The Palestinian people are an undeniable fact; the Israeli army has control ("occupation") over the Palestinian people and their land, and almost half a million Israeli civilians ("settlers") have been transferred to that land. When Israel depletes that land's resources - like its rocks or its water or simply its living space - it follows in the footsteps of colonial powers of the past, which took away what naturally belonged to the natives and grew ever more economically dependent on those resources. Israel, and The Jerusalem Post, can claim however much they like that we have "the right" to quarry in that land, and settle and rule there because of the "dispute," and fall ever more deeper into the trap that will end Zionism as we know it. But the reality - outside the legal obscurity - is as clear as it gets: It's occupation and colonialism. YITZHAK HALEVY Jerusalem Sir, - Why worry about Hamas, Hizbullah, Fatah or Iran? The people bent on destroying us are right here at home. KURT SIMON Jerusalem Begin kept the faith Sir, - In "Netanyahu as prime minister - deja vu?" (March 11) Daniel Pipes analyzed what he alleges were broken promises by previous Likud leaders. He stated that "Menachem Begin was elected... on a nationalist platform that included annexing parts of the West Bank" but "instead removed all troops and civilians from the Sinai Peninsula." I would have credited Mr. Pipes with the intelligence to differentiate between the West Bank and the Sinai Peninsula. Prime minister Begin never considered giving up any claim of the Jewish people to the West Bank (Judea and Samaria). His discussions at Camp David dealt with some form of administrative autonomous self-government for the Arab residents of those areas regarding their internal affairs, but not the ceding of sovereignty. On the other hand, the Jewish people have never had a historical or legal claim to the Sinai desert. In return for a peace treaty with Israel's largest Arab foe in all wars until that time, Begin returned the Sinai to Egypt, giving up valuable strategic depth, some low-quality oil fields at Abu Rodeis, and agricultural settlements on the Mediterranean shore at Yamit. HILLEL HURWITZ Ra'anana Israel awaits Sir, - Shmuley Boteach totally missed the point in making it "easier to be frum in America" ("Too expensive & lonely to be Jewish," March 10). Instead of bemoaning the cost of Jewish education in America, the expense of kosher food compared to non-kosher food and making these items an "urgent priority of the American Jewish community," I suggest Rabbi Boteach refocus his skills on encouraging the American kosher-eating Jewish community to join its brethren here. While these same American Jews pray three times a day to settle in Israel, they apparently don't really mean what they pray, as aliya has not been an "urgent priority of the American Jewish community." Jews in America are missing out on the opportunity to be part of the making of history every day in the Land of Israel. Plus in Israel we already have state-funded Jewish education and kosher restaurants nationwide. So what is he waiting for? DAVID SCHAPIRO Beit Shemesh Entitled, and not Sir, - Michael Levine is entitled to his liberal, pro-Obama views while complimenting Herb Keinon on his analysis of American-Syrian relations ("Intelligent, admirable," Letters, March 10). He is not, however, entitled to use the insulting "neo-con garbage" to describe talkbacks from the many Israelis less enamored than he of Barack Obama, who fear a change for the worse in America's policies toward Israel under this new president. RHONA YEMINI Givatayim Benefits all round Sir, - "Fischer's NIS 4.4b. stimulus aims to create 15,000 jobs" (March 11) includes as part of the plan increased spending on roads and railways. The new government should urgently start the high-speed Jerusalem-Tel Aviv railway link. Not only would it create employment and provide economic benefits by reducing travel time between the two cities, it would also take traffic off the roads and - most important - save lives. RONNIE STEKEL Jerusalem China and Tibet Sir, - World condemnation of China's continuing domination of Tibet is unreasonable ("Tibet 'hell on earth' under China, Dalai Lama says," March 11). Like the Golan vis-a-vis Syria, the Tibetan plateau is an impregnable barrier to a possible invasion of China by India. It may also be noted that the pacifist Buddhist religion of the Tibetans also threatens to undermine the military vigilance of that region fora possible war with India. While India continues to train her nuclear weapons on China, it is essential that China continue to maintain her present nuclear as well as military defenses on the Tibetan plateau. Thus neither the Golan Heights nor the Tibetan plateau should be relinquished by their present owners. ROY RUNDS Tel Aviv Cheering you on Sir, - To the Israeli tennis team who came to Malmö: In spite of the idiotic fuss around you nice people coming to our country just to play tennis, we want you to know that there are many friends of Israel here in Sweden (also non-Jewish ones) who'd like to bid you very welcome. We were your "spiritual"audience, cheering you on while you played ("Sweden's anti-Israel apartheid policy is about more than sport," March 9). EWA & YORAN EDÉN-MODÉN Göteborg, Sweden