May 5: Coming to Terms

Islam must come to terms with the fact that Israel is here to stay and it is much better and more rewarding to live in peace with it than in war.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Coming to terms
Sir, – So there is a new peace initiative and we are supposed to be excited (“Israel, PA give nod to Arab League endorsement of ‘minor’ land swaps,” May 1). But we have heard it all before.
Peace with the Palestinians is not about settlements, not about Jerusalem and not about right of return or any of the other countless pretexts. Peace is about the fundamental perception of Islam that there is no room for a Jewish state in Palestine and Israel must be destroyed.
Islam must come to terms with the fact that Israel is here to stay and it is much better and more rewarding to live in peace with it than in war.
This acceptance and change of attitude must be proclaimed far and wide, and be reflected in sermons in the mosques. When this happens, peace with the Palestinians will come as a matter of course. But not before.ALEXANDER BAR-ELAN Bitzaron
Sir, – Many of the arguments Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu advanced in his book A Place among the Nations are as valid today as they were at the time of the book’s release. Let him recall them, in particular the fact that the Mandate for Palestine was a legal document that cannot be superseded by UN resolutions, which are not considered instruments of international law.
Let him also remind the parties that Israel has given peace a chance on numerous occasions, only to be greeted by terrorism, rejection and delegitimization.
Let him rationalize, too, that as he believes the Arabs cannot accept the very existence of Israel, the only viable solution cannot lie in the creation of yet another Arab state.
The Arab nations, which created the problem in the first place and are now making proposals for its resolution, should participate in the removal of UNWRA facilities and in voluntary efforts at relocating Palestinian Arabs within their sovereign territory.
They should also engage in a massive education plan directed at overcoming the hatred of Jews. This is clearly the only way that peace will prevail.
ALEX ROSE Ashkelon
Sir, – If I didn’t know otherwise, I would have thought your May 1 paper was the Purim edition.
The two uppermost articles on the front page, “Israel, PA give nod to Arab League endorsement of ‘minor’ land swaps” and “Father of five stabbed to death in terrorist attack at Tapuah Junction,” clash with one another.
How can the US, the UN and the Arab nations talk about peace while there is a contradiction of facts on the ground? The prime minister, by pretending that he is dealing with a friendly neighbor, is encouraging nations that seek to deny the root of the problem – the refusal of the Palestinians to accept the Jewish state and their spreading of hate messages among their people, both in the media and in schools.
We have to get to the root of the problem before we discuss any other conditions for peace.
The prime minister should take the lead.
Peace referendum
Sir, – With regard to”Holding a referendum” (Editorial, May 1), there is discussion in the UK as to a possible referendum on its continued membership in the European Community. If instituted it would be the second time a referendum has taken place there – and on the same question.
The previous referendum was held in 1975, and I was a regional chairman of the national body arguing for a “yes” vote (i.e., to remain a member of the EU). I am therefore writing with both practical political experience and an understanding of the principles of national referenda.
It is not, in my view, correct to argue, as referred to in your editorial, that a national referendum removes the authority of the government. It would under law be constituted by and held under rules laid down by the government at its own request.
In this respect both Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman are wrong. And Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich shows a complete lack of understanding of democracy.MICHAEL BRUNERT Modi’in
Sir, – For Labor Party chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich to say that the concept of a referendum is inherently undemocratic is quite ludicrous.
The stability, general lack of violence and rarity of worker strikes in Switzerland, the oldest democracy in Europe, is generally credited to the availability of the referendum. It serves as an outlet for frustrations by ensuring that the will of the people can always be taken into consideration.
Still more objectionable is the comment by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni that a referendum weakens the government’s authority by transferring the decision-making process to the people. This bespeaks an elitism, if not arrogance, toward the people that contradicts what actually legitimizes the referendum concept, namely that the government is elected to carry out the will of the people, which is referred to as the “sovereignty.”
This sovereignty is trusted to have common sense and political maturity that can ultimately be relied upon.
In an inherently sophisticated and literate population, this confidence is all the more justified.
It is precisely with regard to critical decisions, such as those related to a two-state peace agreement, that the government needs to be confident that it is reflecting the will of a majority of the population.
Sir, – No one seems to remember Golda Meir’s reaction to “revolutionary” thoughts in the Labor Party of the 1960s, when a few members had the temerity to suggest holding primaries for the party list. Golda poured cold water over this “ridiculous” idea of letting the people decide something that was clearly the party leader’s job.
Some 50 years later, Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich cannot accept the people’s right to vote in a referendum on vital issues that effect us all. Switzerland, England and other European countries have held referendums, with no ill-effect on their democracies.
In Israel, only the party hacks have a say as to what will happen in our lives, and we can’t even elect them directly!
TAMAR GINAT Neveh (Ephraim) Monosson
Sir, – Justice Minister Tzipi Livni presents a number of sophistic arguments for depending only on the Knesset for making decisions on peace (“Livni: Anyone who wants peace must oppose citizens’ referendum,” April 29).
I would like to remind her that we control the territories because Israel was attacked from there. To relinquish them, wholly or in part, without a peace treaty would only assure our enemies that they have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Livni believes that democracy is served best by the government and Knesset making such decisions.
Yet the article keenly recalls how such decisions are not always based on altruistic motives. She also belittles the importance of the “ramifications that could come from evacuating people from their homes” and the ramifications this consideration would have on a direct popular vote. Perhaps the public’s degree of concern for such impacts is of prime importance? The disengagement from Gaza, even after Ariel Sharon’s party rejected the plan in its own referendum, is a notable example of the effect of disregarding the will of the people.
APOLOGY The news story “Health minister to decide whether to fire Meuhedet director-general” (April 12), which implied that then-deputy health minister Ya’acov Litzman had retained health fund chairman Rabbi Yerahmiel Boyer due to close personal connections, was based on erroneous information. The Jerusalem Post apologizes for the error.