March 19: Less than a success

While the Iron Dome system has without question saved millions in property damage, its overall success cannot be measured by technology alone.

Less than a success
Sir, – While the Iron Dome system has without question saved millions in property damage, and probably lives as well, its overall success cannot be measured by technology alone (“Rocket explodes near school in Netivot,” March 16). By other standards, it has been a failure.
Iron Dome’s 90 percent interception rate has not and cannot stop the psychological and economic effects on those who are the targets. Schools are closed, businesses are shuttered, and children are again living underground and in fear, never knowing when the next red alert will sound.
What Iron Dome has done is allow the government “flexibility” in seeking to contain the violence without a full-scale Cast Lead II. But this also gives Hamas and Islamic Jihad more time to rearm themselves and increase their capabilities for the next round of attacks, which everyone acknowledges is inevitable.
At some point, even if there is no “decisive solution,” we will be forced to take decisive action, with all the consequences that follow. That is what we are faced with, and the sooner we acknowledge it the better.
Just evaporate
Sir, – Regarding “Eeny, meeny, miny moe: Tzipi or Shaul?” (Politics, March 16), from the very outset, Kadima was a misbegotten child designed to allow a corrupt and bloated Ariel Sharon to abandon Gaza. His immediate successor was the even-moreruthlessly self-serving Ehud Olmert, who in turn was followed by the terminally whining but otherwise utterly nondescript Tzipi Livni.
Is there anyone who can describe the ideology and principles of this party other than “un- Likud?” Is there anyone who actually knows what Livni thinks (other than her belief that she is made of leadership material)? At least under Shaul Mofaz, the possibility exists of siphoning Sephardi voters away from Shas.
This could enable electoral reform, which would assure greater democracy and liberation from the haredi economic stranglehold.
But short of that, it would be in everyone’s interest if Kadima simply evaporated and allowed serious parties with clearly defined programs to compete for our votes.
J.J. GROSS Jerusalem
Realistic – or not?
Sir, – Negating the viability of a two-state solution (with which I vehemently concur), Martin Sherman (“Disputing Dershowitz,” Into the Fray, March 16) puts into perspective the only possible solution vis a vis the so-called peace process, which has continuously surfaced over the past four decades.
The “Jordan is Palestine” narrative, which is so often maligned yet refuses to abate, is the only realistic scenario to date and should be vigorously pursued.
Sir, – Once again, Martin Sherman presents us with an impeccably argued but hopelessly impractical political case.
He professes bafflement at why the two-state solution has come to be embraced by so many political leaders and opinion formers.
I remind him that this was the concept favored by the Peel Commission in 1937, to say nothing of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP), which recommended as much to the UN General Assembly in 1947. Partition, as we know, was accepted by the Jewish Agency as the basis for the foundation of the Jewish state.
Of course, a lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then, but it is disingenuous to deny that the concept has a respectable history.
Sherman writes of “ceding territory,” blithely ignoring the inconvenient fact that in most of the world’s eyes, the West Bank is not Israel’s to cede. In fact, in line with the 1993 Oslo Accords, Israel is in the process of handing over aspects of self-government in the occupied areas to the Palestinian Authority.
The political reality is that the two-state solution, despite its obvious disadvantages, is the only game in town. The broad structure of an eventual peace agreement that is based on it has long been well understood, and was well set out in the Israeli Peace Initiative (IPI) launched in April 2011.
The sooner we all buckle down to it, the better.
No trivial matter
Sir, – In “When big becomes too big” (PostScript, March 16), Hirsh Goodman asserts that leaders at the recent AIPAC convention were too vocal when it came to the threat from Iran, thus trivializing the issue.
Uri Savir made much the same point the previous week (“Between Damascus and Tehran,” Savir’s Corner, March 9), urging Israel to “stop being at the rhetorical forefront of the effort against Iran.”
On the contrary, it could well be argued that Israel’s outspoken leadership has forced the world community to focus on this very issue. It is far from clear that the US and other Western countries will exert the necessary pressure on Iran if Israel does not openly maintain its readiness to attack Iran at an unspecified time.
For Israel now to reduce its rhetoric and take a backseat to others would signal to Iran that it accepts the efficacy of sanctions and diplomacy – tactics that have so far failed to produce any tangible results. At the same time, Israel would be placing primary responsibility for its security in the hands of others.
We all hope that Iran can be convinced to halt its apparently inexorable drive toward nuclear armament without military action. However, Israel must remain visibly at the forefront of any efforts to alter Iran’s course.
Perhaps the best way to prevent military action is to make it abundantly clear to Israel’s friends, no less than to Iran, that Israel has both the ability and willingness to act against this existential threat if necessary.
EFRAIM A. COHEN Zichron Ya’acov
Sir, – Many recent op-ed pieces and letters in The Jerusalem Post argue for a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities. But many US and Israeli military experts believe that attacking Iran would convert a potential catastrophe into a definite one.
Today’s fragile world economy would likely turn toward depression as oil prices surge; Israel would likely be bombarded with missiles, with major loss of life and severe damage to homes and infrastructure; and terrorism, anti-Semitism and anti Americanism would likely increase greatly.
The result is that Iran’s nuclear potential would be set back temporarily, with Tehran more determined than ever to gain a nuclear weapon.
Iran must recognize that its use of a nuclear weapon would be suicidal. It should be convinced that it can gain by cooperation rather than confrontation.
There are no easy answers, but there should be much thought about the potential consequences for Israel and the entire world before deciding to attack Iran.
Skewed visas
Sir, – Isn’t it amazing how an arch-terrorist such as Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad can be permitted to come to the United States to deliver speeches at New York’s Columbia University, but National Union MK Michael Ben-Ari is labeled a terrorist and denied a visa because many years ago he had associations with Rabbi Meir Kahane (“Rivlin cancels delegation after US bars Ben-Ari,” March 13).
This is how the US shows friendship to its only reliable ally in the Middle East? How utterly shameful!
The War Refugee Board was created by US president Franklin D. Roosevelt to help Europe’s endangered Jews, and not as stated in “When the chips are down, Israel stands alone” (Observations, March 16). We apologize for the editing error.