November 24: No love of peace

As usual, Gershon Baskin deludes himself.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
No love of peace
Sir, – As usual, Gershon Baskin deludes himself (“A speech in Ramallah, a speech in the Knesset,” Encountering Peace, Comment and Features, November 21).
If Mahmoud Abbas made such a speech in our Knesset, he could not possibly say the words that Mr. Baskin ascribes to him: “Palestine is a peace-loving state.” Every day, we are witness to threats of terror. If the PA is so peace-loving, why do they encourage terrorism and glorify those who murder Jews; and why do their schools continue to incite hatred of Jews; and why do their summer camps train the younger generation to fight and kill; and why do the imams preach demonization of Israel in their mosques? The excuse that peace activists use to justify this hatred is the so-called “occupation.” The Israeli bases and patrols in Judea and Samaria, roadblocks and restrictions of movement for Palestinians are necessary only because of their hostility and threats of terrorism. Does anyone really believe that if Israel withdrew from Judea and Samaria and dismantled the roadblocks and stopped the patrols, that terrorism would terminate? Wasn’t the withdrawal from Gaza enough proof of this point? Tell us, Mr. Baskin: Why is there no campaign toward real peaceful co-existence? Why is there no mention of Israel’s medical, technological, agricultural and industrial developments that could be potential benefits for the Palestinian people? Why is there no “Peace Now” movement on the Palestinian side? You, Mr. Baskin, and other peace activists are sincere in your efforts, but you are not the Palestinians, and you are simply deluding yourselves. I wish you were right, but in our generation, there will not be a sincere movement toward authentic peaceful co-existence on the part of the Palestinians.
RON BELZER Petah Tikva
Whose authority?
Sir, – In “Humanitarian law versus political choices,” (Comment and Features, November 21) Juan Pedro Schaerer writes on behalf of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in response to an article written by Moshe Dann. Mr.
Schaerer wants to state the ICRC’s stand on the Israeli occupation of the West Bank.
He writes “The facts are such that the Israel Defense Forces established their presence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in June 1967, and exerted their authority there in place of the Jordanian authorities who were no longer able to exert their own authority.”
This statement is an admission that the West Bank and east Jerusalem are not “occupied Palestinian territory.” The area, if anything, is occupied Jordanian territory.
The ICRC admits that where Israel is in “authority” is not “Palestinian.”
The writer does not mention that Jordan was not the legal “authority” of these areas, but does recognize that it is not “Palestinian.” Thus the ICRC admits its policies are based on a falsehood.
BARRY RYDER Hatzor Haglilit
Sir, – Juan Pedro Schaerer paraphrases Humpty Dumpty and says facts are what I say they are and what I choose them to be.
He invokes Article 42 of the Hague Regulation 1907 which says “Territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army. The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised.”
He then goes on to say “It is not the ICRC but rather the facts on the ground that determines whether a territory is under occupation.” In other words, he says the legal sovereign entity in Judea and Samaria were the Jordanians.
He very conveniently ignores the actual fact that the Jordanian army illegally invaded the British Mandatory territory before the British had actually given up the mandate.
On May 14, 1948, Britain gave up the Mandate on Palestine.
The State of Israel was declared but already on May 4 the Jordanian army under its British officers had invaded Palestine. On May 13 before the mandate had expired, the Jordanians had massacred the inhabitants of Kfar Etzion. Jordan had invaded a sovereign state while it was still part of the British Mandate. During the ensuing war between the five invading Arab Armies and Israel, an armistice between the Jordanians and the Israelis was made and the armistice line was delineated on a map with a green pencil.
In June 1967, Jordan violated this cease-fire by shelling Jerusalem thus making the Armistice Agreement null and void and erasing the Green Line. After the 1967 war, Judea and Samaria were freed from alien occupation and were thus enabled to fulfill the League of Nations resolution “to establish a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine.”
Mr. Schaerer and the ICRC must brush up on their history. On July 31, 1988, Jordan ceded its claims to the West Bank. So to whom does Judea and Samaria belong? Surely the only sovereign nation recognized in the area.CYRIL ATKINS Beit Shemesh Hit the jackpotSir, – Gil Troy is on the mark regarding the threat of corruption harming the very foundations of democracy, but unfortunately I’m afraid that Israel long ago crossed the line into ‘Corruptistan’ (“Israel must not become ‘Corruptistan,’” Comment and Features, November 20).
The recent return of Avigdor Liberman as foreign minister is just the latest manifestation of the norm for Israeli politics and society: Only formal criminal conviction of crimes that carry “moral turpitude” will prevent someone from seeking and/or force them from public office.
Furthermore, even convicted and often jailed public officials triumphantly return to local or national politics after having “paid their debt to society,” while moral and ethical aspects are at best ignored and at worst thrown to the wind.
In far too many cases, the technically acquitted individual is treated like a returning local hero by his or her fellow politicians as well as the general public, and are even rewarded by being appointed or reappointed to very high public positions.
Arye Deri, Tzachi Hanegbi and Haim Ramon are only a few examples to add to Liberman, not to mention scores of local mayors and other public officials who continue to serve or have even been reelected! Perhaps, worst of all, the same leadership that should be on the front lines battling this terrible state-of-affairs, as Troy says, seems to be part and parcel of the problem, and perhaps even one of its prime sources.GERSHON HARRIS Hatzor Haglilit
Sir, – I think Gil Troy has not been here long enough in this chaotic and evil region to endure the greed, graft and cronyism that I have experienced as an elderly Anglo oleh of many years. It would seem that we have hit the jackpot for corruption and illegality with the indictment of a former chief rabbi for a series of serious charges that demanded house arrest.
What about the forerunner for these indiscretions, the indecent behavior of former presidents Moshe Katsav and Ezer Weizman, the ongoing trial of the Holy Land saga concerning former prime minister Ehud Olmert and former Jerusalem mayor Uri Lupoliansky and their cronies, plus the many mayors charged with offenses and MKs that have served time behind bars? We should not overlook the criminal tactics used by the port, water, electricity and railway unions and the many monopolies run by oligarchs that are encouraged by incompetent government policies. It rings a socioeconomic alarm such as the cottage cheese crisis that rips our money from our pockets unless we protest.
The unruly self-serving political and justice system is indicative of the morality and integrity of our leaders, who should be there to protect and defend their citizen’s interests economically and physically.
In my opinion, it portrays the corruption of Israel’s political system whose leaders have divorced themselves from their responsibility.