November 5: Sleazy sophistry

Clearly, the transfer of 80,000 non-heavy rockets, which we allowed, is okay with Israel. Can someone explain such sleazy sophistry to us plain folks?

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Deals we make
Sir, – Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, chief negotiator Tzipi Livni and others should have the backbone to say to US Secretary of State John Kerry the following: 1. At the behest of President Barack Obama we imposed a 10-month construction freeze on the so-called settlements in order for the Palestinians to come and negotiate, but for nine months they refused to talk. We have now released another batch of cold-blooded murderers. We suggest that you pressure the Palestinians to finally start fulfilling their obligation under the Oslo Accords to stop terrorism and incitement. To continue talking we demand an end to these activities. As a sign of goodwill we are willing to give them 10 months to show their goodwill in negotiating! 2. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas last week not only celebrated the release from prison of 26 murderers, but promised each a lump sum according to the length of their imprisonment and then a monthly stipend. Is this the purpose of the economic aid America and the EU give the Palestinians? By the way, the same questions should be addressed to European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, British Foreign Secretary William Hague and other European foreign ministers.EMANUEL FISCHER Jerusalem
Sir, – Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told us that the price for restarting peace talks with the Palestinians was to either release terrorists, including those with blood on their hands, or halt all settlement activities. Now that we have released another batch of prisoners, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (as well as the leaders of many countries) is denouncing Israel for building new settlements, calling them an “obstacle to peace.”
Why do we continue to free Palestinian terrorists and talk about peace with the Palestinians if they have changed their minds about construction? Will the terrorists Israel already freed be returned to prison? After all, it was the Palestinians, and not Israel, who violated the agreement.
Fat chance for that happening! JOSHUA J. ADLER Jerusalem Sir, – Comparing “Netanyahu, what were you thinking?” (Comment & Features, October 31) with the news item “Edelstein declares French president persona non grata in Knesset” in the same issue, one can’t help but contrast the actions of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with those of Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein. Whereas Netanyahu capitulates to world pressure to release terrorists who have killed IDF soldiers and civilians in terrorist attacks, Edelstein stands up to French President Francois Hollande for snubbing Israeli lawmakers by announcing that he will be speaking to university students, not the Knesset, during his upcoming visit.
The results of these actions speak for themselves. Netanyahu has antagonized most of his nation. He also has gained no advantage in the so-called peace talks, as is evidenced by the article “Kerry to arrive as Palestinians threaten to walk away from talks” (November 1).
Our prime minister’s capitulation has produced nothing other than increased pressure from the Palestinians to capitulate further, with them still complaining about building in Jerusalem, Israel’s capital city. On the other hand, the spokeswoman of the French Embassy reacted to Edelstein’s declaration by emphasizing Hollande’s “attachment to Israeli democracy and its representatives,” saying he “wants to go to the Knesset” and that the embassy is “working on options and trying to be accommodating.”
Obviously, when Israel stands up for its honor it gains strategic advantage and is respected.
When it capitulates, it loses respect and faces more pressure to continue doing so.
It would do well for Netanyahu to consider revising his approach from one of capitulation to assertiveness.
He would gain a strategic advantage, as well as honor for himself and his country.YOCHEVED MIRIAM ZEMEL Jerusalem
Sleazy sophistry
Sir, – Your newspaper states that “Israeli officials have repeatedly stated that the country’s red line in war-torn Syria is the transfer of heavy arms to Hezbollah...”
( “Israel’s impunity in Syria,” Analysis, November 3).
Clearly, the transfer of 80,000 non-heavy rockets, which we allowed, is okay with Israel. Can someone explain such sleazy sophistry to us plain folks?
The cops know
Sir, – With regard to “Another car bomb in Ashkelon injures reputed mobster” (November 3), experts on the underworld affirm that without political protection, mobsters can’t operate like they do here in Israel.
Police know the names and address of the illegal casinos, protection nets and narcotics rings they run freely. They know everything. But nothing is changing. The criminals operate freely and openly, and from time to time they kill each other in gang wars with shootings and bombs.
Eighty percent of the police force works in administrative positions, moving papers from here to there. What is going on in the streets is the result .DAVID WAINTRAUB Rishon Lezion
Differing viewpoint
Sir, – I take issue with Gershon Baskin’s claims in “No solace” (Encountering Peace, October 31) that the “released murderers “ he met “live with the faces of those they killed every day of their life,” and that he “witnessed tortured souls,” particularly of “those who killed innocent civilians.”
Obviously, I cannot refute claims Baskin believes are true.
Perhaps the murderers he spoke with took advantage of the opportunity to “suck up” to an influential columnist whose leftwing ideology is close to theirs.
But from my experience as deputy comptroller of the Israeli Prison Service for close to 25 years, during which time I met and spoke with many hundreds of security prisoners, not one showed any remorse or anguish for killing the innocent.
I certainly did not witness any tortured souls. Perhaps the only tortured souls were of the prison guards who are in the unfortunate position of having to witness on a daily basis the laughing and joking of these “poor souls” who continue to enjoy benefits and privileges beyond those of the average Israeli prisoner.
It is imperative that Baskin’s viewpoint not remain unanswered.HAIM WOLDENBERG Tzur Hadassah
Justifying an exit
Sir, – Susan Hattis Rolef attempts to justify her daughter’s preference to live in Berlin rather than remain in Israel (“Why Israelis moved to Europe,” Think About It, October 28).
She hypothesizes that perhaps her daughter and others with similar values may be “sick to their stomachs” seeing how Israeli authorities treat Arabs, including MKs, at the airport, seeing the callous and insulting manner of some Israeli settlers and solders toward Arabs in the West Bank, and seeing the way we treat African refugees.
There is also the loss of hope for peace with our neighbors, for which Israel is just as much to blame as the Arabs, and the lack of separation between religion and state. All, Rolef says, are motivations for emigration.
A cessation of profiling at the airport may be humanistic, but the resultant reduction in security might end-up in a devastating tragedy. Also, Israel has made Herculean efforts to absorb non-Jewish Falash Mura at great expense financially and socially, and provided a home for “boat people” when no other country did.
To expect it to integrate hoards of African refugees and seekers of a higher standard of living is inconceivable. Today, south Tel Aviv is a nightmare for its inhabitants.