November 28: Abbas, the UN and us

The Palestinians know only too well our weakness and that we are afraid to do anything that will annul the Oslo Accords, no matter what they do.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Abbas, the UN and us
Sir, – You write in “Official: Israel’s reaction to UN move depends on Abbas’s next step” (November 26) that according to diplomatic figures, the EU and US had urged Israel not to “overreact” to the Palestinians’ United Nations bid for nonmember state status, and to wait and see what Abbas does once the resolution is passed before making any “irreversible” moves.
Are they kidding? When does Israel ever overreact or take irreversible actions? Israel likes to sound tough but everyone knows by now that surrender comes easily to us.
The Palestinians know only too well our weakness and that we are afraid to do anything that will annul the Oslo Accords, no matter what they do. They know we are more afraid of world opinion than of our immediate enemies, who are free to initiate and stop terror against us whenever the mood takes them.
Surrender and concessions are the name of the game, but only from Israel.
Sir, – On Thursday, the Palestinians will go to the UN. I would like to call on our prime minister: Bibi, say yes! A Palestinian state is in Israel’s interest – especially today, after another difficult round of violence.
It is clearer than ever that without some kind of arrangement it will never end. Only if we come to an agreement with moderate Palestinians, and only when a Palestinian state arises alongside Israel, will we be able to prevent the next bloody round.
The Palestinians’ request at the UN corresponds with Israel’s stand. They seek the world body’s recognition of a nonmember state whose borders and other core issues will be determined through negotiations. This was exactly Prime Minister Netanyahu’s position as expressed in his Bar-Ilan speech of June 2009.
Whether we like it or not, there is already an absolute majority in the General Assembly. (The US cannot use its power of veto in that forum.) We can support the Palestinian move and win international support for ourselves, or remain against it and be seen by the entire world as being against compromise and peace.
We have much to gain and nothing to lose.
Must remain strong
Sir, – I am not usually a letter writer, but I want to thank Isi Leibler for putting our situation into perspective (“Gaza: Victory, stalemate or defeat?,” Candidly Speaking, November 26).
Yes, it is an uneasy quiet and we expect more noise around the corner, but we will do our best to enjoy every day here. We are not sorry that we chose Israel and Ashkelon as our home.
I did not get to know my mother’s family because there was nowhere for them to go in 1940. There was no State of Israel. Thank God my mother escaped from Germany and made it to America.
Israel is our home and has been our home for thousands of years.
Although we have been observant for just 15 years, we know we can’t sit back and be passive.
We went to synagogue on Shabbat while the sirens were going off and some rockets got past Iron Dome. We continued to pray, but we also thanked God for our soldiers and our government.
We must remain strong here in Israel, and with the help of God we will see a time of real peace.
That cease-fire
Sir, – Many of us in Israel, especially those in harm’s way, were very disappointed that Israel agreed to a cease-fire with Hamas. That is the same belief of Benjamin Kerstein (“Trapped by a failed strategic ‘conceptzia,’” Comment & Features, November 26), although it is about the only thing we have in common.
Kerstein’s statement that we flat-out lost is really the response of a simpleton. This was not a war but an operation, one of many that Israel must undertake as part of the big picture that almost all of us understand – dealing with our most ominous threat, Iran. This is not just about Hamas and the Gaza Strip or Hezbollah and Lebanon.
Calling our prime minister the man who lost the war is very short-sighted. I am sure that many of us who were disappointed with the decision for a ceasefire have begun to realize all the positives that the cease-fire has accomplished.
Egypt’s leader finally came to grips with the fact that he must interact with Israel, whether he likes it or not. The Europeans, starting with Britain, realized that Israel had no choice but to defend citizens who were being fired upon indiscriminately for no reason. Most of all, Prime Minister Netanyahu was able to form a new bond with US President Barack Obama, the leader of the free world who will be in power for the next four years, whether we like it or not.
Israel will need the support of all of the above, especially the US, if and when the time comes for the real war, the war against Iran.
Sir, – Once again, Israel has entered into a cease-fire with an enemy. Photographs of Hamas celebrations included children being fed hatred, a replay of the hatred fed to their parents.
Any chance for a real, lasting peace requires a change in their education, which currently is directed toward continuous conflict.
Without this, there is little hope for more than a brief respite from war that is waged against Israel by neighbors for the purpose of its destruction.
As long as our enemies deny our historic and legal rights to our homeland there can be no lasting peace – just a truce between battles.
Subtleties of language
Sir, – The distinguished professor of law Alan Dershowitz has a point in “Why a cease-fire will not last” (Comment, November 25). But he uses two prominent words that give too much credit to Hamas; were he living here he might have caught the subtlety.
When millions of Israelis run for shelter during an alert we don’t “panic.” We run because we have only seconds and cling to life. Panic is something that overtakes you. It is only a small minority of the population that is flooded by fear.
And when the Israeli government needs to respond to rocket fire, it is not “provoked.” That word implies apologetics. Our leaders respond. They are not provoked, as a surgeon is not provoked into conducting an operation.
Different dictionary
Sir, – Uri Savir’s “Gaza and the West Bank – Hamas and Fatah” (Savir’s Corner, November 23) presents a wish for peace that we all share. However, history books teach us that the only times Muslims have agreed to make peace is when they achieved all their demands.
Peace negotiators like Arafat and Abbas do not represent just the Palestinians, but the entire Muslim world. As such they must demonstrate heroism and toughness.
An attitude of give and take, compromise and accommodation is not in their dictionary.
We need to understand this point.
I. OFEKTel Aviv
Seeking survivors
Sir, – We are looking for the survivors among some 2,500 Jewish prisoners from Bergen- Belsen, including some 700 children, who were aboard a train that was liberated on April 13, 1945, near the town of Farsleben by the 30th Infantry Division, US Ninth Army.
They are asked to contact Frank Towers at, or me at either or