March 16: Itamar fallout

Until Palestinian people can put forth a true leader dedicated to real peace, we must resist all attempts toward a false peace.

Itamar fallout
Sir, – Regarding “Netanyahu at Fogel shiva house: The terrorists shoot, we build” (March 14), our prime minister thinks that the approval of 400-500 more housing units will comfort us after the tragic and horrific murder of the Fogel family. What he doesn’t understand is that his solution is like putting a bandaid on a cut, only to discover that the wound is quite deep and has left a life-long scar.
CHAYA HEUMAN Ginot Shomron
Sir, – Today the Palestinian people find themselves caught between two forces. On one side they have Hamas, the religious terrorist entity supported by Iran dedicated to the destruction of Israel. On the other they have a weak corrupt dictator, Mahmoud Abbas, propped up by the West and inciting his people against Israel on one hand, and on the other, crying crocodile tears after atrocities such as Itamar.
It is truly fortunate that Israel has a prime minister with the backbone to stand up to the world and, rather than incite his people against the Arabs, take a measured approach to terrorist provocations by allowing 500 homes to be built in the settlement blocks.
Until the Palestinian people can put forth a true leader dedicated to real peace with Israel, we must resist all attempts toward a false peace.
Sir, – The horrendous killings at Itamar should bring the end of the charade our country has performed for years. Whether the al-Aksa Martyr’s Brigade carried out the murders, provided technical support or did nothing is irrelevant – it is proud to take responsibility.
I couldn’t care less whether it is the accountancy wing, the educational wing or the “militant” wing of Fatah – it is a wing of the organization headed by Mahmoud Abbas. If Abbas has no control over the al-Aksa Brigade and is master only of his own mansion and the streets around it, it is meaningless and reckless for our government to be negotiating the status of any part of the Jewish homeland with someone as politically impotent.
But if Abbas is in control, our prime minister should not be taking pro-forma condolence calls from him, for Abbas is our enemy and I would expect our government and army to be prosecuting a comprehensive military campaign against him and Fatah.
Sir, – The horrific slaughter of the Fogel family defies belief.
However, the orgiastic reaction from many quarters, including our minister for public diplomacy and diaspora affairs and those of us whose mission is to disseminate hasbara material is disgusting (“Israel moves to release graphic photos of slaying victims after family gives its consent,” March 14).
We have placed ourselves in the same category of those who seek our destruction. What have we become?
Tel Aviv
Rely on yourselves
Sir, – Regarding Arab League chief Amr Moussa’s call for NATO and the US to do its dirty work and impose a no-fly zone over Libya (“Gaddafi’s forces launch attack on Misrata, March 13), unless I am mistaken, at Saudi Arabia and Egypt both have large fleets of fighter-bombers they received from the US.
Israel and the US have demonstrated that these planes are capable of long-range missions.
There is no reason for Saudi Arabia to withhold its aircraft from such a mission; flying via Sudan, Saudi planes could easily reach Egyptian air bases in the western portion of that country and, along with Egypt’s air force, carry out the edict of the all-mighty, all-wise Arab League.
Perhaps this council of perpetual snivelers is too afraid to do anything but whine. More likely, it would prefer that the civilian casualties be blamed on the US and its allies. That would be a fine excuse for another rise in oil prices.
Ma’aleh Adumim
Consult your elders
Sir, – Congratulations on an intriguing interview with Uri Lubrani (“Playing chess against Tehran,” Editor’s Notes, March 11), who succeeded where many fail in bringing a uniquely human side to the conflict with our neighbors, and all that it entails.
If leaders had any sense they would use not only the intellect of senior former advisors, but their wealth of experience and understanding of those who, it seems, would seek our destruction.
Knowledge of Arabic and its nuances, as he says, is vital to good neighborliness. I agree totally that our youngsters should become familiar with their surroundings instead of absorbing superficial, Western behavior.
The arguments of the early days, when teaching of Arabic was rejected due to the antipathy of olim from Arab countries, are no longer relevant if we are to build the future of the Middle East together.
We need more older people of the caliber of Lubrani where the decisions are taken.
Tel Aviv
Sir, – I agree with everything Uri Lubrani says except for one thing: Language will not help us to be accepted.
I agree that we should learn Arabic, to know our neighbors better and to better defend ourselves against their attacks. But I do not agree that knowing their language and their customs will help us be accepted. The Jews in Germany and Hungary spoke perfect German and Hungarian, and dressed like Germans and Hungarians, but it did not help them at all to be accepted.
Whoever does not learn history is condemned to repeat it.
Ganei Omer
Scaffolding is strong
Sir, – I am wondering if Lisa Palmieri-Billig (“Rickety scaffolding,” Letters, March 10) witnessed the same Vatican synod on the Middle East as I did.
According to her reply to my op-ed (“The Vatican vs the ‘Zionist tsunami,’” March 1), I have been “inaccurate, incomplete and misleading.” I’ll reply point to point to her false claims.
The attack on Israel by Archbishop Bustros was not a single incident, but was reinforced in the final message, which, under the heading “Cooperation and Dialogue with the Jews,” argued that “recourse to theological and biblical positions, which use the Word of God to wrongly justify injustices, is not acceptable.”
Israel’s right to the land has been radically questioned by the Vatican. Bustros was not a bystander, but the cleric chosen to draft the synod’s 44 final propositions.
In the “Instrumentum Laboris,” a preparatory document sent by the Holy See to the bishops, aside from Iraq the only country singled out for criticism in the Middle East was Israel. Patriarch Antonios Naguib of the Egyptian Coptic church, who was the “relator,” or secretary, of the synod, expressed “solidarity with the Palestinian people, whose situation today is particularly conducive to the rise of fundamentalism.”
The lesson is simple: The Islamist ideology is the consequence of Israeli policies.
Archbishop Edmond Farhat didn’t participate in the synod as an ordinary clergyman, but with the title of “apostolic nuncio,” meaning the Pope’s ambassador.
It’s funny and frightening that Palmieri-Billig uses nice words for La Civiltà Cattolica when the Vatican’s magazine had highly positive expressions for the “research” of the anti Israel historian Ilan Pappe. Sergio Minerbi, a scholar specializing in relations between the Catholic Church and the Jews, also recently explained in The Jerusalem Report that “the synod marked a sharp regression in attitudes toward Israel.”
Palmieri-Billig’s statement on the “mainly positive Vatican- Israel relations” is nice, wishful thinking.