November 17: Some backbone, please

Israel should impose on imprisoned Hamas terrorists the same conditions that Hamas has imposed on Schalit.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Some backbone, please
Sir, – Regarding “New freeze expected to pass security cabinet by one vote” (November 15), it is disappointing, but unfortunately not surprising, that our government is once again planning on freezing construction throughout Judea and Samaria.
Despite promises to the contrary, it seems that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is following in the footsteps of former prime minister Ariel Sharon and flip-flopping when it comes to settlement policy. Sharon promised to uphold the Likud referendum on Gush Katif in 2004, only to launch the expulsion from Gaza the following year. And now Bibi, who guaranteed that the freeze would be a one-time occurrence, is poised to reinstitute this draconian and racist policy, which discriminates against Jews because of where they live.
Israel needs to stop being US President Barack Obama’s “yes man” and show some backbone by refusing to undertake policies that cause immense internal strife and damage the fabric of our society.
Sir, – How can our prime minister believe any promises made by President Obama – when his secretary of state has reneged on the promises made by former president George W. Bush to Ariel Sharon to convince us to leave Gush Katif?
Before even discussing a second freeze, we should insist that Obama first undersign the contents of his predecessor’s letter of intent to Sharon – and while we are at it, Obama should arrange for the release of Jonathan Pollard. Then, maybe, this will create the atmosphere for a discussion on the pros and cons of a second freeze vis-à-vis certain promises and goodies for Israel.
My humble opinion is that if the Palestinian Authority really wants us to give it a state – out of the little of what remains of the territory mentioned in the Balfour Declaration – it should be the petitioner. It should show how hard it is working to teach its people to accept Israel. It should beg us to negotiate, and not vice versa.
Everyone (except, apparently, Obama) knows that PA President Mahmoud Abbas does not want a state side-by-side with Israel. Abbas wants a state to replace Israel. Hamas is at least honest in its rejection of Israel’s right to exist. What can you say about the honesty of the PA?
Shadmot Mehola
More on South Africa
Sir, – While much of what is said in “Out of South Africa” (Our World, November 9) is true, Caroline B. Glick must, as a renowned journalist, know that to omit part of the truth is to depict an untruth.
One wonders what her motive could be. She speaks of the Jews living behind walls and electric fences. True, but this has become a reality for all South Africans, irrespective of race or religion, so it is certainly not that Jews are targeted or feel more unsafe than any other South African.
Glick has tabulated all the negatives and exaggerated some, but somehow has missed the great and vibrant Jewish community that we are. Strange for a journalist of her caliber.
South Africa’s imminent demise has been predicted for as long as I can remember – at least since 1960 – but we are still here and facing daunting challenges. We live very meaningful lives, where there is much goodwill and a lack of bitterness on the ground.
Sir, – I respect Caroline B. Glick as an outstanding journalist and political commentator. In addition, I wholeheartedly share her approach to Zionism and Israel. However, her report on her short visit to South Africa is, to say the least, distressingly negative.
Although she accurately pinpoints many of the negative features regarding South African society, perhaps a first-time, one-week stay in our unique, complex socioeconomic/ political environment may not be sufficient to accurately assess the future potential of the country or the fate of its Jewish community.
George, South Africa
Sir, – The letters criticizing Caroline B. Glick’s “Out of South Africa” read into her column things she did not say and overlook many disturbing realities.
Glick begins her article by admitting that South Africa “faces daunting challenges.” She then goes on to make certain points with which many South Africans agree, and concludes with the hope that the Jews of South Africa “will make their way to Israel,” and not merely leave South Africa, as one of your correspondents writes.
Many South Africans, Jews and non-Jews, who struggled against the apartheid government have expressed disappointment with the situation in South Africa today, and not only Glick. The latest to do so is Athol Fugard, best known for his political plays opposing apartheid.
As an ex-South African born before the Second World War who grew up in a truly vibrant and amazing Jewish community, I can see the trend this community has taken. It still has much to offer Jews, but it is a dwindling community and its future is uncertain. Surely the hope that Glick expresses is a reasonable one, and one the South African Zionist Federation strives to fulfill.
Beit Shemesh
Sir, – I am a former South African and I refer to the lengthy letter of November 14 from Jeffrey Dorfman (“Glick’s South Africa”) criticizing her for the short period of time she spent there.
Dorfman is an American Jew presently living in South Africa who regretfully doesn’t tell us how long he has been there. On the other hand, I have in my possession an e-mail received from a staunch South African who has lived there for 70 years, reading as follows:
“News is very negative about South Africa and fraud, rape, murder, poor teaching, etc., etc. is the order of the day. The honeymoon is over after the World Cup and we can no longer bask in the glory. [ANC Youth League president] Julius Malema is an oaf and a clown, and I could go on moaning for a long time. I have always been very patriotic and hopeful, but one cannot remain an ostrich!”
I think I prefer to rely on my South African friend’s short assessment of the situation.
Kibbutz Rosh Hanikra
A rescue plan
Sir, – Gilad Schalit has been entombed in a dank, dark cellar for four years. He has not been visited by anyone.
The Israeli reaction has been to hold demonstrations, to seek international intervention, to organize mass marches, to stage camp-ins, etc. Nothing has worked, and nothing will work until Israel makes Hamas’s life so miserable that it will be forced to release Schalit.
Three modes of action suggest themselves:
1. Hamas is dependent on a myriad of tunnels from Egypt to smuggle in weapons, food, fuel and a host of other badly needed items. It levies a tax on all of these imports. Without it, Hamas couldn’t survive. Israel should serve notice on Hamas that each day Schalit remains in captivity, the Israel Air Force will destroy a tunnel (or two) until all are gone. Ultimately Hamas would have to give up and release Schalit.
2. Side by side, Israel should cut off all aid to Hamas. There is no reason why Israel should be supplying aid to Hamas, its enemy. The Allies imposed a total boycott on Germany during World War Two. Let the Egyptians, who have a common border with Gaza, help their stricken brethren.
3. Israel should impose on imprisoned Hamas terrorists the same conditions that Hamas has imposed on Schalit. This would provoke an anguished outcry from their families, who would violently demonstrate in the streets, joined by hungry, disillusioned, unemployed Gazans. The demonstrators would demand that Schalit be released in order to get their sons back.
All three actions taken together would bring Hamas to its knees and bring about Schalit’s release. If Hamas retaliates by rocketing us, our air force would systematically destroy neighborhoods in Gaza after giving prior warning to the inhabitants to leave.
In World War II, the Allies firebombed Dresden, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Berlin without giving prior warning to the residents, mainly women and children. Scores of thousands were killed. The British were brutal occupiers of Palestine from 1917-1948, killing Jews and thwarting efforts to create a Jewish state. The savage, inhumane British naval blockade locked the doors of Palestine to millions of Jews seeking to escape the Nazi butchery in Europe. America (which turned away a refugee ship) dropped two atom bombs on Japan, killing millions.
Let the world not preach morality!
Hamas has declared war on us. We must react decisively. It’s time to stop wringing our hands and take meaningful action.