September 24: Basic groundwork

Rarely referred to in the media, but revealed in a Kol Israel radio interview in April 2009 by chief PA negotiator, Saeb Erekat, was a far-reaching, written peace proposal submitted by Abbas to the Israeli government during the final days of the Bush administration.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Basic groundwork
Sir, – Douglas Bloomfield (Washington Watch, “Stalling for Peace,” Comment and Opinion, September 23) is probably not correct when he says that the peace deal offered by Ehud Olmert in 2008 was “turned down” by Mahmoud Abbas “without countering.”
Rarely referred to in the media, but revealed in a Kol Israel radio interview in April 2009 by chief PA negotiator, Saeb Erekat, was a far-reaching, written peace proposal submitted by Abbas to the Israeli government during the final days of the Bush administration.
In his interview, Erekat disclosed that he made a secret trip to Washington on December 18, 2008, in order to present a copy of the document to then- president George W.
Bush. He claimed that it was the “most advanced offer” ever made by Palestinians, echoing Olmert’s similar claim from the Israeli side. Given the extent and depth of the negotiations between Olmert and Abbas during 2008, and the apparent meeting of minds between them, the two plans could not have been that far apart.
Of course there is no saying whether either plan could have gained the acceptance of necessary Palestinian or Israeli constituencies at the time, and even more problematic would be any attempt to revive them now. But groundwork has certainly been laid on both sides for some sort of accommodation.
NEVILLE TELLER Ramat Beit Shemesh
True intentions
Sir, – Two Israeli soldiers were murdered by Palestinians and we are yet to hear a condemnation from the Palestinian leadership (“Palestinian sniper kills soldier in Hebron,” front page, September 23 and “Palestinian lures, murders soldier in West Bank attack,” front page, September 22). It is, unfortunately, events like this that bring out the true intentions of the Palestinians, which is the destruction of Israel by any means possible.
It is also clear that the only thing the Arabs respect is strength. Compromise or holding to previous promises is not part of their vocabulary or actions. Our initial reaction should be to approve the Levy Report immediately. Secondly, to continue to build in Judea and Samaria and not provide any aid to the Palestinians while they continue in their murderous ways. Third, we must eliminate from the ruling coalition anyone who does not agree with this approach. A majority of the country voted for a strong, right wing government and they are not looking for a Sharon 180 degree change of direction. The time for positive, strong action is now.
Skewed resolutions
Sir, – In reference to “Brussels conference held in support of settlements” (News, September 18) it is evident that the more things change the more they remain the same. The EU issues sanctions against Israel under the claim of protecting “Palestinian” rights while the majority of the “Palestinians” promise to eliminate Israel at first opportunity.
The Western world turns a blind eye to the mass atrocities and barbarous war crimes committed in Rwanda, Burma, Darfur and much of the Arab world (with Sunnis and Shi’ites butchering one another). Only Israel is on the receiving end of nearly all of the skewed and one-sided resolutions promulgated by the UN and EU.
The explanation of the treatment of Israel by the rest of the world may be found in Mark Twain’s seminal essay “Concerning the Jews” (Harper’s Magazine, 1898). The Jews excel in all their endeavors: medicine, finance, industry, arts, abstract science (30% of the German Nobel Prize winners were German Jews who comprised less than 1% of the total population), music, literature, etc. and these attributes generate envy and the fear that the non-Jewish population may end up working for the Jewish establishment. Progressive countries find that instead of envying or fearing the Jews they should imitate them. In the meantime Israel, with the help of the Almighty, will continue to make the desert bloom, provide additional sources of fresh water (desalination), develop technologies like the one that prompted Warren Buffett to acquire Israeli Iscar for 5 billion dollars (to date, his first and only non-US investment), have scientists winning Nobel Prizes way out of proportion to their small numbers and develop new energy sources from underwater gas deposits and inland shale oil. All of these fortunes will generate more envy from the rest of the world.
JAIME M. EISEN North Miami Beach, FL
Judicial activism
Sir, – The judges sitting in the Supreme Court have done it again (“High Court strikes down gov’t policy on migrants,” front page, September 17). They have gone far beyond their duty to adjudicate in matters of law. The case for overturning the Knesset Law regarding detention of lawbreakers who illegally cross our borders is another example of judicial activism – a threat to democracy and a practice that must be stopped.
How can such a situation be sanctioned by a high court of so-called “justice”? What is the higher good, that of the rights of law-abiding citizens or the rights of non-citizens who break the law? Supreme Court judges want to give everyone equal treatment under law, but those who violate the law are not entitled to equal treatment. risks to cross our borders, are lawbreakers and must know that if apprehended, they will be sent back to their countries of origin.
Their presence in South Tel Aviv is not a problem just for one city, but for the whole country.
Travel expenses
Sir, – The planned visit of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to the US (“Netanyahu to address UN next month,” News, August 23) has negative aspects. He will meet with President Barack Obama who will no doubt demand weakening concessions and who has affronted him by not acknowledging the prime minister’s formal request for the freedom of Jonathan Pollard. Additionally, our prime minister will address the UN in pathetic circumstances, since many of the delegates will leave when he comes to the podium, and others will not be influenced by his words.
The money spent on such a trip would be put to far better use as aid to industries in Sderot and the Galilee and more protection for Israelis living and working near Gaza.
RAPHAEL BEN-YOSEF Ramat Gan Feeling scammed
Sir, – Last week I parked my Eldan rental car in the private parking lot of Supersal in the Raanana industrial area. As I have a handicapped placard from the state of New Jersey, as well as official supporting documentation, I assumed that placing the placard in the window would, at the very least, be a signal to an officer to enquire as to my eligibility to park in a handicapped spot. Within 20 minutes of my entry into the market a NIS 1,000 violation was placed on the car. I have great difficulty in parking in a non-handicapped spot and I am a frequent visitor and driver in Israel. My souvenir from this trip is the NIS 1,000 NIS ticket.
I have written to the Tourism Ministry, the mayor of Raanana and various other officials, but have received no answer.
Since 1970, I have been spent money in Israel on hotels, restaurants, car rentals, shopping excursions, airlines and more. I must be of some value to the government.
I share this information reluctantly with you since I don’t want to deter tourism to this wonderful country. However I have been scammed and I am hurt, insulted and unable to figure out how to manage without handicapped parking. Can you help? ROSANNE SKOPP New Jersey/Herzliya