May 26: Netanyahu in Washington

Prime Minister Netanyahu, in refusing to acquiesce to a recipe for national suicide, wisely says “no” to American demands.

letters (photo credit: JP)
(photo credit: JP)
Expert advice
Sir, – Regarding “Washington perturbed by Netanyahu’s inflexibility, American expert says” (May 24), please allow me, a self described “expert” on Israel, the Jewish people and the future of this nation, to give my take on the situation and help reduce the feelings of Washington being perturbed.
Prime Minister Netanyahu, in refusing to acquiesce to a number of strategies that are basically a recipe for national suicide, wisely says “no” to American demands.
His primary responsibility is to protect the country and nation of Israel, not to make the American administration happy with its “quick fix” solutions.
I find Jon Alterman’s statement – “It seems strategically dangerous for Israel to pick a fight with the American president gratuitously” – totally incomprehensible. Perhaps I should explain to him the true danger to Israel of giving in to every demand that would endanger its very existence.
I hope Alterman will now better comprehend the prime minister’s actions, and thank Netanyahu for representing the needs of the people of Israel.
Beit Shemesh
Sir, – A peace treaty does not secure lasting peace. That’s the plain truth of thousands of years of history.
In addition, US President Obama is unaware of the failure of demilitarization throughout history. Otherwise, he would not count on demilitarization as a factor in insuring a “just and lasting peace.” Should the new Arab state decide it is in its interest to build multi-division light infantry, commando units and a modest air force of several fighter-bombers and attack helicopters, no demilitarization clause in a peace treaty would stop it.
The only insurance Israel has for survival is a military powerful enough to defeat an Arab coalition and enough land to disperse its population, industry and high value targets. The current high concentration of population makes it a center of gravity in a missile war, where the Arabs will seek to inflict enough civilian dead and wounded to sufficiently demoralize the home front and the troops in battle to bring Israel to its knees.
The Israeli government is committing the folly of placing its faith in treaties and demilitarization, neither of which will insure peace and security for the Jewish people.

Doctors first!
Sir, – Why is the Treasury in favor of boosting the salaries of city rabbis when doctors are begging for better working conditions and decent wages (“Treasury agrees to significant hike in new city rabbis’ wages,” May 24? Rabbis don’t work long hours, like doctors do. They don’t suffer abuse from patients and their families, as doctors do. Hospital overcrowding, low wages and long hours are untenable; the entire population suffers from it – even rabbis! I am dismayed that the Treasury is so nearsighted and wants to put money where it’s least needed!
A cheaper way
Sir, – If the intention of the Bank of Israel is to discourage residential and other real estate speculation, why doesn’t it create a second, lower and fixed rate of interest for existing mortgages of people living in their own apartments and young couples who are first-time home owners? This may be “thinking out of the box” but I am sure it is within the central bank’s authority. If the Bank of Israel can’t do it, the Knesset should. This would be a lot cheaper for the government and the economy than housing subsidies!
Moral accomplice
Sir, – Gershon Baskin (“Meeting senseless aggression face-to-face,” Encountering Peace, May 24) is filled with indignation at the “crimes” of Israeli troops. Strange that his moral crusade doesn’t include the criminal use of children as shields by Arab rioters and the total failure to protect children during demonstrations by keeping them at home.
According to Baskin, 40 percent of the 200 people injured at Nabi Saleh since the protests began are children. By ignoring them in a prejudicial manner, he effectively justifies actions that, according to UN documents on children’s rights, are crimes, which saps him of all honor and makes him a moral accomplice after the fact.
Hold the marshmallows
Sir, – Natalia Simanovsky, in “Has no one been listening?” (Comment & Features, May 24), points out that the Fayyad/Abbas government has been successfully building a state. Now all that’s left is for Israel to recognize that state and we can all sit around the campfire singing Kumbaya.
Who will handle the issue of the returning refugees? How does Simanovsky address the editorial in the same issue (“Insistent intransigence”), which pointed out that 68 percent of the PA’s Muslim population justifies suicide bombings to defend Islam? Maybe that campfire is not as realistic as she thinks?
Petah Tikva
Campaign ad?
Sir, – It seems a pity that instead of being informative and objective, “French nationals living in Israel to get their own representative in the National Assembly” (May 23) turned into a tribute to one candidate, the rather controversial Valerie Hoffenberg, ignoring the other three.
It failed, in particular, to mention the non-partisan deputy mayor of the Paris suburb Neuilly sur Seine, Philippe Karsenty, whose almost single-handed and unrelenting fight to expose the truth about the Mohamed al-Dura hoax.
Whose interests?
Sir, – David A. Halperen and Peter A. Joseph claim that “most of the American Jewish community is not buying” the criticism of US President Barack Obama’s speech at the State Department last week (“When peace met partisanship,” Comment & Features, May 23.) To substantiate their thesis they refer to the Anti-Defamation League’s and the American Jewish Committee’s “responsible and principled statements.”
These two organizations have as their primary and almost exclusive mission the protection of the American Jewish community. Their attitude toward any Israeli action or position is, “How will this affect American Jewry?” Historically, the AJC was fervently against the establishment of a Jewish state, and it wasn’t until the 1950s that it came to grips with Israel’s existence. Similarly, in March of 1933 it ardently opposed Jewish organizations from taking part in a protest rally against Hitler.
The American Jewish community is in a much stronger position today than it was in 1933 and 1947.
Today, US Jewish defense organizations need not fear supporting Israel’s legitimate needs. If this results in Obama “standing down from a two state solution,” this might be a desirable consequence.
Messenger the message
Sir, – An op-ed in your paper (“Why George Mitchell failed,” May 16) stated: “Until future envoys to the Middle East understand the religious dimension of the problem, and that the Arab- Israeli conflict is not about borders but about the existence of the state of Israel, all future attempts to make peace in the area will fail.”
What is important about the article is who wrote it: an Islamic extremist who rose to the highest ranks before seeing the light. If only the Israeli government would repeat these words over and over, his point would get across.
Tawfik Hamid’s article should be sent out by the Foreign Ministry to all the governments of the world, including the White House.