October 3: Let’s not be fools

One must ask the question why only when Obama’s popularity nears rock bottom and he's losing the Jewish vote, does he suddenly do a turnaround.

letters (photo credit: JP)
(photo credit: JP)
Let’s not be fools
Sir, – There is an old saying that a fool is easily parted from his money. If it is true that US President Barack Obama succeeded in reaching out to Israelis with his recent speech to the General Assembly, then it is with great sadness that I say that the Jews will be easily parted from their one and only historic and legal land (“‘Post’ poll finds surge in Obama popularity in Israel,” September 28).
The process, of course, has already been started. One must ask the question why only now, when Obama’s popularity is nearing rock bottom and he is losing the Jewish vote (and money), does he suddenly do a turnaround. It deserves an answer as we know without a shadow of a doubt that he still denies us our right to build in all parts of our land, including Jerusalem, our eternal undivided capital.
Closing our eyes to the reality that, piece by piece, our home is being taken from us is no longer an alternative.
Undoing Obama?
Sir, – Given the fact that former US president Bill Clinton is the consummate political animal (“Et tu, Bill,” Into the Fray,” September 28), I have to wonder what benefit he expects to derive from his anti- Netanyahu/pro-Palestinian and - Saudi rants.
Surely, Clinton is more aware than is Martin Sherman as to just how difficult Yasser Arafat made the last part of his presidency, yet he almost alters history and his own personal facts to hammer Israel.
At the very moment the Democratic Party and President Obama are doing everything in their power to prove their undying support for Israel to American Jewish voters, Clinton steps in. It is almost as if he is deliberately trying to torpedo Obama’s almost hopeless attempt to establish his pro-Israel bona fides with American supporters of the Jewish state.
Kiryat Arba
Old, sticky groove
Sir, – Uri Savir (“Alone together,” Savir’s Corner, September 28) repeats the shibboleth of the Left when he says: “The outcome of negotiations... is well known to every realist.”
His gramophone needle seems to be stuck in its 1993 groove.
For him, nothing has transpired since.
The “well known” outcome includes the “border based on the 1967 lines, with mutually agreed swaps.” Is there one Palestinian leader who has uttered a willingness to cede Ma’aleh Adumim and the Etzion Bloc to Israel? He mentions “a limited Israeli and international military presence along the Jordan Valley.” Is there one Palestinian leader who has ever voiced agreement to this? They want a Palestinian state with absolutely no Jews.
He writes about a “solution of the Palestinian refugee problem through the right of return to the State of Palestine.” Is there a Palestinian leader who has ever considered that? If this is Savir’s idea of realism, I don’t know what surrealism is.
Sir, – Uri Savir’s essay is written as if he had been a neutral observer living on Mars. Yet by reaching out to the PLO in Oslo, Savir and his cohorts in effect affirmed the narrative that the Arabs have a just cause and the only way to end their aggression against Israel is to endow them with legitimacy and a right to self-determination (which was marketed to the Israeli public as autonomy, not statehood).
Savir talks about the “two sides” and draws inaccurate parallels between Palestinian and Israeli problems. He is equally critical of the UN speeches by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, even though the latter’s diatribe spotlighted a sequence of historical distortions.
He promotes the “international system” and the “international community,” which have a long history of failure in dealing with inter-ethnic conflicts and are extremely antagonistic to Israel and its legitimate rights in this land.
Given the facts on the ground today in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, in addition to the turmoil in surrounding Arab states, the current status quo is definitely preferable to any of Savir’s fantasies.
Indeed, the pre-Oslo status quo would be even better.
True reciprocity
Sir, – Proposing what he calls “Reciprocity and mutuality – the key to Middle East peacemaking” (Encountering Peace, September 27), Gershon Baskin would like to see Israel stop building in the West Bank while in return the Palestinian Authority would refrain from suing and boycotting Israel.
Wouldn’t true reciprocity and mutuality mean that Israel stops building in the West Bank and so does the Palestinian Authority? Or that the PA refrains from suing and boycotting Israel while Israel refrains from suing and boycotting the PA? What Baskin is proposing is that the PA refrain from violating one or two of its obligations going back to Oslo, while Israel violates the rights of its own settlers in return.
Tibi is right
Sir, – A few comments following criticism over MK Ahmed Tibi’s trip to the UN (“Diplomatic upgrade,” Letters, September 25): I wish more Jewish MKs would support Tibi when he declares that the occupation and settlements set the Mideast conflict toward a never-ending, decadent road while many of our soldiers serving in the IDF continue to serve as police guards at West Bank checkpoints, blocking civilians and protecting lawless Jewish fanatics settled in the Judean hills and outposts.
Tibi rightfully uses the privileges granted to him under Israel’s democracy to promote his agenda for the rights of the country’s Arab minority and the rights of the Arab majority in the West Bank. However, it’s more important for us to understand that the difficulty of living under occupation is almost negligible when comparing it to the lasting damage done to our society when we walk blindly along a path that diminishes and destroys our sacred values of freedom and equality for all.
The occupation and settlements hurt us more than they hurt the Palestinians!
Zichron Ya’acov
Wasted standards
Sir, – To import anything electrical into Israel requires the approval of the Standards Institute, which determines if the item is safe for the public. To get such approval takes several weeks. This seems no different from the US or EU. But it is very different.
Ninety-nine percent of the electrical items imported into Israel have already been approved by the parallel standards bodies of the US (UL) or EU (EC). There is no need for a country of our size to have its own electrical approval process.
Items should simply be required to have been approved by the UL or EC.
This extra bureaucracy does more than raise costs for importers, who must pay for the approval process while sitting on depreciating inventory.
Because models change so quickly there are many onetime opportunities and closeout buys in the home appliance and consumer electronics fields that are perfect for a small country and would significantly (often by more than 50%) lower costs to the consumer.
The problem is that many importers are understandably unwilling to go through the approval process for one-time buys. This also reduces overall competition.
I have been studying the Israeli market for the past four months and would very conservatively estimate that Israelis are overpaying for all their electrical and electronic purchases by 15%.
What a terrible shame!

The writer is a mechanical engineer with experience in international consumer electronics