March 19: Mendacious morality

Only the demonization of Jews seems to interest the Palestinian leaders pursuing their "human, moral and legal rights."

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Mendacious morality Sir, - "Fulfilling the right of return is a human, moral and legal will that can't be denied by the Jews or the international community," says the Palestinian Arab leadership ("PA urges Palestinians to 'return' to Israel on 60th anniversary," March 18). Appealing to hordes of Palestinian Arabs abroad to converge on the Jewish state is presented as a step toward "liv[ing] with the Jews in peace and security." But appealing to hordes of armed Palestinian Arabs living in Ramallah, Beit Jalla, Jenin and Gaza to stop targeting civilian Jews is apparently beyond the imagination of these same strategists. A penchant for murder, racist incitement, "honor" killings, decimation of the Christian minority, the indoctrination of kindergarten children - none of these seem to interest the Palestinian leaders pursuing their "human, moral and legal rights"; only the demonization of Jews, as individuals and as a collective. I'd call this the depths of moral corruption. ILYA MEYER Gothenburg, Sweden Sir, - There are so many Christians being displaced and persecuted in Arab countries that a good idea would be to let these Arab Christians live in peace in disputed areas of the West Bank and the Golan Heights. The Christian world, the Western countries and the world media would be hard-pressed to condemn Israel for allowing these Christians, who have nowhere else to go, to enter freely and live in peace in a democratic country. KRISTINA LAMB Ocean City, New Jersey From force to statecraft Sir, - Re "Israel: Gaza 'package deal' does not include Schalit's return" (March 17): It seems incredible that Israel would even consider a Gaza package deal that does not include a prisoner exchange for kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit. Perhaps our government could learn from Germany how to make a package deal. When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 and the German people demonstrated en masse their wish for a reunified Germany, chancellor Helmut Kohl understood what Israel needs to understand today: that when a political goal is held in consensus by all the nation, it can be achieved provided the government leadership is ready to move from force to statecraft via redemption - i.e., a willingness to make good on the state's oath to the people that no matter how high the cost, it will be outweighed by the benefit accruing therefrom. Israel made an oath to Gilad Schalit that as a soldier in the IDF, should he be captured, Israel would guarantee his quick and safe return home. Kohl made good on his oath of German reunification. He emptied out West Germany's coffers and even gave up on the deutschemark. Surely our government could do more to facilitate our highest, most noble and cherished national goal: the redemption of POW Gilad Schalit. Kohl is considered to be current Chancellor Angela Merkel's mentor. I hope that our prime minister, too, will learn something from him: how to ride the road from force to statecraft. LILY POLLACK Jerusalem Deal directly with Hamas Sir, - In "What to do about Gaza: The realistic scenario" (March 17) one possibility not mentioned by Barry Rubin was direct talks with Hamas. I can think of 1,000 reasons why this approach might fail, but unless you try, you will never know. The Palestinians seem to be the only ones who really understand that Hamas, which was freely elected by the man in the street, will never go away and must be dealt with in a direct manner, through either negotiations or war. The idea of a partial invasion of Gaza has merit, but it should be a last resort after all other avenues - including that of direct negotiations - have been explored. Using Egypt as a go-between is really not much good. P. YONAH Shoham Sir, - I find it very interesting that Tzipi Livni told a group of Middle East analysts and researchers in Washington that "In the Middle East, hesitation is viewed as weakness." This from the foreign minister of a government that took more than a year of rockets being fired on Sderot before making some semblance of a response, and even then not doing nearly enough ("There's no truce deal with Hamas, Olmert declares," March 11). AVI SCHREIBER Hashmonaim Good advocate Sir, - I watched with great pleasure Eli Moyal, mayor of Sderot, in a recent BBC interview. He was very articulate and persistent in his answers. He repeatedly stated the number of missiles hitting Sderot daily and described their psychological consequences, particularly on the children. He offered to do everything in his power for peace. He went on to say that Israel had taken the necessary steps in the hope of achieving peace by pulling out of Gaza, and Lebanon. Furthermore, he pointed out the bias of the international media, which fail to acknowledge that Hamas's declared purpose is to destroy Israel. We hope that more Israeli officials of this caliber will assist in bringing the Israeli position to the world. JOE KALMAN Edmonton, Canada Unjustly attacked Sir, - As a member of the foreign press corps for the last 25 years, I am concerned about the way officials and the local media in Israel continue to attack the foreign press. This time it is Al-Jazeera, before it was CNN, then it was the BBC - but in general the foreign press gets accused almost daily. We are following the Israeli media on this issue and do not see any mention of the fact that Al-Jazeera and all foreign journalists have reported the events in Sderot extensively, Al-Jazeera reporting from there on several occasions. It reported live from Gaza during Israel's incursion, but also live from the attack on the yeshiva in Jerusalem. It's like we only report on what is happening in Gaza, and nowhere else; this is not right, and creates a hostile and unjustified atmosphere as regards the foreign press, of which Al-Jazeera is a well-respected member. Israeli officials, as well as the Israeli media, should behave more responsibly than they are doing at present. Their approach does not befit a democratic country ("Israel undecided on Al-Jazeera boycott," March 13). CONNY MUS Senior Correspondent RTL News, Holland Jerusalem Who Amalek is Sir, - Re Elliott Horowitz's statement that Mercaz Harav Yeshiva head Rabbi Ya'akov Shapira "is on even shakier ground" because the biblical Amalek was the grandson of Esau, every yeshiva boy knows that Esau's son was married to Ishmael's daughter. Amalek is a combination of Esau and Ishmael ("Between Hebron and Jerusalem," March 18). SYLVIA WEISSMANN Jerusalem Pictorial history Sir, - A year ago, you published a letter referring to a book titled ARC, 100 Years of Memories, which told the story of the Arcadia Jewish orphanage in Johannesburg, South Africa. It included former orphans' memories of their years at the ARC. A two-DVD set has now been produced, taken from old 8mm. movies in personal collections and photos from archives. It is a moving pictorial history, part of a bygone era that should not be forgotten. The DVD is now available in Israel. Anyone interested in obtaining a copy can call me on 0542-681013. DAVE SAMUEL Karmiel