March 30: Nothing gained

Your headline denotes diplomacy by extortion. It is blackmail. PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s only intention is to achieve the release of prisoners, not peace with Israel.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Nothing gained
Sir, – We are highly honored yet again to have Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas maybe agree to sit down and talk, of course until the release of more prisoners (“Abbas could agree to continue talks if prisoners are released on schedule,” March 27). Then what do we gain? Not one thing.
Just murderers let loose and more hearts broken.
How can the government be so insensitive as to let this happen? Going back, I would like to congratulate Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon for speaking the truth. He has absolutely nothing to apologize for. Whatever Israel does, it is condemned, so why bend over backward? For what? ROSINA FISHER Jerusalem Sir, – Your headline denotes diplomacy by extortion. It is blackmail. PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s only intention is to achieve the release of prisoners, not peace with Israel.
Herzliya Pituah
Whose fault?
Sir, – Regarding “Mevaseret politicians refuse to condemn KKK costumes worn by teens for Purim” (March 27), allow me to be perfectly clear: I condemn no student for dressing up this way – it’s the parents and teachers who allowed this to go beyond the clearly theoretical and research stage that ought to be condemned in the strongest of terms.
I visited the high school after spotting the teens marching down Mevaseret’s main street on the way to their Purim carnival. I wasn’t permitted entry in order to voice my indignation in person to the principal, but I spoke to one teacher on his way out who agreed that the costumes had no place in society. The teacher strongly disapproved of the students’ actions.
When I spoke to a member of the Mevaseret council, he, too, expressed shock and disappointment that students at the town’s high school would act so inappropriately.
I ask here that the education committee at the school, in conjunction with the parents, have an assembly to discuss the very serious issue of racism.
Mevaseret Zion
PM remiss
Sir, – Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir makes a good case (“The legality of the settlements,” Comment & Features, March 27), citing, among other things, the Levy Report, calling it “Israel’s response to those who conclude that the settlements are illegal under international law.”
He further maintains that the report is “our case made before the international community.”
But if that is so, why hasn’t Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu presented the report to the ministerial committee dealing with the subject so that it can be formally adopted by the government? I’m afraid our prime minister has been seriously remiss in not converting this report into an effective tool for our legal defense of the settlements.
With all due respect to Mr.
Shamir as a member of the government, the situation that has been created in the international arena by the continued unjustified attacks on the legitimacy of the settlements requires an allout effort to repel them – and that means, first and foremost, the prime minister’s personal involvement. To date, this has not been forthcoming.
Water, water
Sir, – “East Jerusalem residents petition high court over lack of water” (March 26) was a well balanced report for the people who read it to the end. But many readers see only the headline, which gives the impression that Israel denies water to citizens because they are Arabs.
It is only the final paragraphs, far back in the paper on Page 10, which explain that water is provided free – a euphemism for the fact that the residents do not pay taxes. The problem is that building in those areas of the city is piratical, and municipal workers cannot enter without police protection to check and repair the infrastructure.
Sir, – I note in “EU, UNICEF launch €10 million Gaza desalination project” (March 23) that we currently supply 52 million cubic meters of water to the Palestinian Authority, well in excess of the 23.6 minimum stipulated in the Oslo Accords.
I wonder if EU foreign policy head Catherine Ashton is aware of this? MICHAEL CLAFF Netanya Beggars fawning Sir, – “A new beginning, or the arrogance of power” (Comment & Features, March 25) is particularly interesting, adding to the numerous worthy articles finding their way into The Jerusalem Post these days. However, far from defending US Secretary of State John Kerry and the Obama administration, we should not lose sight of the fact that all nations have interests.
In his book on Jonathan Pollard, The Spy Who Knew Too Much, Elliot Goldenberg draws attention to the little-known formal US Middle East policy, the “Level Battlefield Doctrine,” a secret, potentially controversial agenda. In simplicity, the State Department views its Arab allies and Israel on equal footing. This makes it easier to understand “Ya’alon just said what everyone else is thinking” (Observations, March 21), a point of view I fully endorse.
The behavior of Israel’s government is something else. The brilliant historian Barbara Tuchman, in The March of Folly, emphasizes how nations often pursue policies that are contrary to their self-interest. She notes that it is “a phenomenon noticeable throughout history regardless of place or period.” This “wooden-headedness, the source of self-deception, is a factor that plays a remarkably large role in government.”
Indeed, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s subsequent apology to Kerry symbolizes Israeli behavior, as do the release of hardened terrorists, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s apology to Turkey, the failure to formally implement the Levy Report on settlements, the lack of engaging international law as a refutation of UN resolutions, and our fawning over the US like beggars in the market place.
Betting his GPS
Sir, – It was recently reported that raising the speed limit on Route 6 to 120 kilometers per hour from 110 kph is under consideration. I feel that such a move would be a mistake for the following reasons: 1. Fuel efficiency in most automobiles begins to drop off seriously at such speeds, so that the added 10 kph (about 9 percent) would result in a fuel burning increase far exceeding 10%, with a concomitant increase in costs as well as air pollution.
2. The added speed would not result in a proportional decrease in travel time because there are plenty of slower vehicles on the road that would act as an impedance.
3. It is possible that the road was built to handle such speeds, but it is highly unlikely that most drivers are capable of safely controlling their vehicles when traveling this fast.
4. The 9% speed increase would result in a 19% increase in kinetic energy, which would make the results of a collision that much more deadly.
5. Just because the road can handle such speeds doesn’t mean it has to. The fact of the matter is, a good many cars on Route 6 today are driven much faster than the current legal limit. I can be driving at 110 kph and find myself being passed as if I were standing still.
If police radar will be set to catch only those drivers exceeding 130 kph (and the odds of being caught are typically small), I’ll bet my GPS that people driving at 140 kph will be commonplace, and Route 6 will be full of wannabe Formula One drivers with kiddy-car talents.
Heaven help us!