October 5: Missed opportunities

The decision to continue the building is simply a formula of cowardice and fear which sacrificed our Jewish future on the altar of political power.

Missed opportunities
Sir, – Classically it was stated about the Palestinians that they never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Tragically and ironically this statement has become true of the country that I love and chose to live in some 40 years ago – Israel.
The opportunity to end the conflict was within our grasp: A right-wing prime minister who could have delivered the goods to a nation ready to end the conflict.
A national consensus that would sign on a deal for real end of conflict.
An American president who fully supports an end-of-conflict agreement.
A Palestinian Authority that is emerging as an economically strong and responsible entity with forward-thinking leadership as well as a desire to end the conflict for its own reasons.
A Western world that supports our legitimate right to statehood and respects our accomplishments but decries our occupation.
All of these are the ingredients for success and could have provided the opportunity for an opportunity to live in accordance with our vision of Zionism – a peaceful Jewish State in our homeland.
Instead we have been abandoned by our prime minister to pessimism and paranoia. The decision to continue the building in the West Bank is simply a formula of cowardice and fear which sacrificed our Jewish future on the altar of political power.
And who pays the price for this tragic error? We, the Jewish people, who ended 2,000 years of Diaspora when we had the courage to build Israel, to take the opportunity in hand some 62 years ago.
History will judge this moment as a missed opportunity no less tragic than the baseless hatred between Jews that caused our demise 2,000 years ago.
Let the courageous among us, those concerned with our future; let the confident, the secure, those of us who believe in the future of Israel, who are not stuck in tragedy and fear but are committed to the concept of Am Yisrael hai, rise to the moment, demand and if necessary climb the barricades for change and together secure our destiny.
Let it be said of us: We seized the opportunity!
Shifting the blame
Sir, – Douglas Bloomfield (“Can the GOP block a Palestinian state?,” October 3) allows his own politics to color his take on what happened with regard to the latest round of Mideast peace talks.
He writes that the Israelis and Palestinians have painted themselves into a corner; the Republicans are allowing their hatred for Obama – and not the best interests of the parties – to dictate their position on the talks; all the while failing to mention that the party responsible for the present impasse and problems is none other than President Obama and his administration.
By demanding a complete settlement freeze, it is the Obama administration that painted the peace negotiations into a corner.
The freeze was apparently demanded largely to curry favor with the Muslim world, particularly Iran, but has had no visible impact on them.
There was no way the Palestinians could demand less than the Americans. The mistake was compounded by the American administration when it failed to bring the Palestinians to the table shortly after the freeze was imposed, so that maximum time could be spent discussing the issues during the pendency of the freeze.
Bloomfield tries to shift the blame, but any reasonable analysis of the events leading up to the current impasse reveals how amateurish the administration has been in its handling of the issue.
Letter of guarantees worthless
Sir, – It’s a good thing that President Obama did not send our prime minister a letter listing “security guarantees” for Israel in exchange for an extension of the building freeze (“US denies it sent a letter demanding freeze extension,” October 1), because based on past experience, it could not have been relied upon.
Early in their administration, Obama and Secretary of State Clinton disavowed the commitments made in the Bush-Sharon letters, even though that exchange had been confirmed by enormous majorities in both houses of Congress.
If a US president does not feel bound by the commitments of past presidents, why should we think he would keep his own promises? And certainly, the next president, based on the example set by President Obama, could confidently disavow his (or her) predecessor’s “guarantees” upon taking office.
If the US truly wants to offer Israel meaningful guarantees, let the president begin by explicitly reaffirming the commitments in the Bush-Sharon letters.
Dictates of morality
Sir, – While it is quite easy to agree with Donniel Hartman’s declaration about the importance of moral excellence for the future of Zionism (“The future of Zionism depends on moral excellence,” September 26), I feel no moral dilemma at all about Israel’s remaining in the West Bank, because control there is in reality a political and security question rather than a moral one.
Morality in fact would dictate that Israel remain there, because the primary moral obligation of Israel is to the security and wellbeing of its citizens.
Obstacle to peace
Sir, – Jewish musician Theodor Bikel (interviewed in “US artists’ support for settlement boycott spreading fast,” September 8) says that he refuses to step foot into the “occupied territories” in order to protest “the single greatest obstacle to peace.”
In what can only be termed a total moral inversion of reality, worthy of the likes of Hassan Nasrallah and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, he goes on to state that “whatever emanates from the settlements is generally either the rhetoric of violence or actual violence.”
This statement, meant to smear and demonize the settlers, was made only a few short days after Hamas terrorists murdered four Israelis in a drive-by shooting attack near Hebron.
In Bikel’s perverted mind, the settlers’ mere presence provides justification for any terrorist acts perpetrated against them – so as to reflexively place the blame for violence back upon the settlers.
Sir, – I would still like to understand how my children building their dream house is an obstacle to peace? If peace is truly the objective, then we should all be allowed to build. But if it is not their real goal, then we have all the right to build on our land.
REBECCA RAAB Ma’aleh Adumim
More nuptial hearing loss
Sir, – Sally Shaw writes (“Nuptial hearing loss,” Letters, October 4), “Anyone who has been to an Israeli wedding knows only too well that the volume of the music is way over the safe decibel level.”
At my son’s wedding some years ago, the volume was so high that I became unwell and had to go home long before the sheva brachot following grace after meals.
Such noise levels may now be illegal but the law would seem to be more honored in the breach. Why can’t this dangerous practice be more effectively stamped out?
Salford, England