October 18: We’re back

Regarding Iranian president’s call, thank God we can answer, “We are back where we came from!”

We’re back
Sir, – Regarding the Iranian president’s call (“‘Zionists, go back where you came from,’ Ahmadinejad calls at Bint Jbail rally,” October 15), thank God we can answer, “We are back where we came from!”
Besides the point
Sir, – When Gil Hoffman asked former IDF chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Dan Halutz for his response to Yehezkel Dror’s statement that leaders who make mistakes must do the requisite public soul-searching (“Riding into politics,” October 15), Halutz answered that he implemented responsibility and resigned.
In the light of his plans to enter politics and aim for a leadership position, his answer is besides the point. Halutz as chief of staff had the IDF poorly organized, poorly prepared and poorly equipped. His battle plan was so focused on air combat that where the real fighting took place, on the ground, we were unprepared and our losses as a consequence were higher.
Any political party that even considers placing Halutz in a leadership position must assume that the electorate has developed total amnesia for the events of the Lebanese war.
Beating spiraling prices
Sir, – We need the government to take aggressive, immediate emergency steps to slow down the spiraling of apartment prices (“An unlikely real estate champ,” October 15), which have led to a situation where large sections of the population can no longer afford housing.
The desperate shortage is the result of years and years of underbuilding by tens of thousands of apartments per annum.
What needs to be done by the government is, first of all, allow the construction of high-rise buildings in the main centers where employment possibilities are greatest and where the need is greatest.
Solving the housing problem in the big centers will help with the crisis on our roads, where large numbers of the population have to enter these centers each day – a task which is becoming more difficult daily.
We have a major crisis on our hands which will only be solved quickly by special government powers, as was done with the spiraling inflation of the 1980s.
Does it speak to him?
Sir, – I was disappointed by the reply which the new Jewish ambassador from the UK, Matthew Gould, gave to David Horovitz (“A most intriguing ambassador,” Editor’s notes, October 15) when asked whether he recognizes the Jewish historical connection to Judea and Samaria.
Horovitz asked, “Does that [recognizing Judea and Samaria as the heartland of the Jewish historic narrative] speak to you, Mr. Ambassador?” Apparently, it does not, since Gould totally avoided the question.
Did Gould notice, in the weekly Torah portion, where Abraham traveled and what God promised him? The Jewish people has just as strong (if not stronger) a historical connection to the areas of Judea and Samaria as to the coastline.
Yet, despite this deep connection, the Jewish people since 1936 has always been willing to share the land and allow for the creation of an additional Arab state called Palestine. It is the Arab side to this conflict that has consistently rejected this.
They rejected the Peel Commission Report in 1937 and the Partition Plan in 1947. They never created a Palestinian state when Arabs occupied the West Bank and Gaza until 1967. They rejected generous offers for a state in 2000 and again in 2008, and they continue to stonewall and seek all excuses possible so as not to negotiate a state with the Netanyahu government.
Mr. Ambassador, the root cause to the entire conflict is the constant Palestinian refusal to acknowledge Jewish history here, to acknowledge that we Jews are not European imports or colonialists. When anti-Semites like Helen Thomas say we should go home, I say we are home.
LARRY BIGIO Zichron Ya’acov
Not so fast
Sir, – Larry Derfner (“Any more doubts about Bibi?,” October 14) maintains that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu killed the chance for a two-month settlement freeze by making the Palestinians an offer he knew they’d refuse. The fact is that had PA President Mahmoud Abbas not wasted nine months of the original freeze, and had significant progress been made, Netanyahu would not have been able to avoid an extension.
Derfner then asserts that the “settlers” could intimidate the public to vote with them in a referendum on giving away land to the Palestinians. He doesn’t, of course, consider it possible that the right-wing public (the great majority of whom are not “settlers”) could present rational arguments to show why the donation should not be made.
This is in fact what happened in the Likud referendum on the expulsion from Gaza when member sentiment turned 180 degrees, and why Sharon at the time went back on his promise to take it to the people.
It’s a shame the Right never had the opportunity to present its case to the general public.
Many Israeli (and far more Palestinian) lives would have been saved, not to mention the thousands of Israeli lives that would not have been ruined.
Misleading pic and text
Sir – The article “Amid legal difficulties, Corrie’s parents remain determined” by Diaa Hadid of The Associated Press (October 13) misses the point of what happened when an American citizen, International Solidarity Movement (ISM) member Rachel Corrie, was crushed to death by an IDF bulldozer on March 16, 2003.
For the past seven-and-a-half years, Corrie’s parents have alleged that Rachel was killed by a driver who clearly had her in his sights.
What now needs to be cleared up is that news interviews with Corrie’s friends at the time tell a different story.
Immediately after the accident, ISM spokesman Mike Shaik referred us to Lynn Clausen, a 24-year-old resident of Washington from the Christians Peacemakers Team based in Hebron, which trains the ISM volunteers.
Shaik and Clausen sent our agency to speak with Corrie’s friends who were with her at the time she was crushed.
Corrie’s friend Joe Smith described how Corrie sat on a mound of dirt facing the IDF bulldozer making its way to the house it was about to demolish.
“Rachel had two options,” Smith said. “When the bulldozer started to dig in the dirt pile, the pile started to move, and she could have rolled sideways quickly or fallen backwards to avoid being hit. But Rachel leaned forward to climb to the top of the dirt pile. The bulldozer’s digging drew her downward, and its driver could not see her anymore. So without lifting the scoop, he turned backward and she was already underneath the blade.”
Smith’s description is very important, since the picture published by Reuters shows Corrie standing to the left of the bulldozer, in a location where the driver can see her very clearly, as she holds a megaphone in her hand. Beneath the picture’s caption was written: “Photographed before Rachel Corrie was run over by an IDF bulldozer.”
Everyone who looked at the picture and the text understood that the driver, who saw the American civilian standing in front of him, just continued crushing Corrie to death. But Joe Smith said that the picture was taken hours before she was run over, which happened at 5 p.m., and not a few minutes beforehand. Smith emphasized that at the time of the incident there were no photographers in the area.
DAVID BEDEIN Director Israel Resource News Agency Jerusalem