May 10, 2017: Two truisms

With regard to “German president: Critics are not traitors’” (May 8), this is certainly true.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Two truisms
With regard to “German president: Critics are not traitors’” (May 8), this is certainly true. On the other hand, traitors are not critics.
Rights for whom?
With regard to “Video shows Barghouti eating in his jail cell” (May 8), on the one hand, there is “Palestinian leader” Marwan Barghouti, serving multiple life sentences for the murder of innocent Israelis, along with his co-hunger strikers, who are seeking, among other things, more TV channels, more liberal visiting arrangements and better access to university degrees. We had suspected that many of them were on a “rotating hunger strike,” but now Barghouti is caught scarfing down a candy bar.
On the other hand, there are the three unfortunate Israelis held captive by Palestinians in Gaza, charged with no crime and held only as potential bargaining chips with humanitarian Israel in the hope of securing the release of more murderers. For them, there are none of the above rights – not even access to the International Red Cross. One can only shudder in horror to think of their living conditions.
Anathematized terms
“Tyranny of the victimized” (May 8) is one of the better editorials you’ve written of late.
However, I do take exception to the following sentence (which, strangely enough, is echoed in Jeff Barak’s Reality Check column “Which US Jew has really influenced today’s Israel?” appearing just to the right of the editorial): “In much of the Israeli Right the term ‘leftist’ has become an anathema that needs no further qualification.”
Really? For years, the term “rightist” has also been an anathema and usually appears as “extreme rightist.” Of course, the whole Right is always portrayed as the “extreme Right.”
Is this not just as disturbing? Is it not worth mentioning in your editorial?
Cycle of conflict
Reader James Adler finishes off his letter (“Cycle of conflict,” May 8) by saying we should be hurt by the UNESCO vote to deny the fact of Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem, while also doing some moral-equivalency gymnastics to compare it to securing said sovereignty over “east” Jerusalem.
I’m really not sure why Mr. Adler thinks anyone should be hurt or could be hurt by the UNESCO vote other than the UN itself.
I, as an Israeli living in Jerusalem, couldn’t care less what the UN has to say regarding this or any other subject anywhere in the world. I suspect plenty of Israelis also couldn’t care less.
The reason is precisely because of things like this vote.
With such votes, the UN does nothing but cement its own irrelevance and demonstrate just how out of touch with facts and reality it is. I don’t see how that harms Israel, and I’m not sure why I should care if the UN gets harmed.
If some stranger came up to Mr. Adler on the street and told him: “I disavow that you had a mother; you were clearly never born,” would he be hurt by such a statement? Perhaps he would feel sorry for a person who clearly needs professional intervention.
Reader James Adler continues to show a startling ignorance when it comes to Israel, the Palestinians and the recent UNESCO resolution on Jerusalem.
He writes: “My guess is that the vote wasn’t motivated by any government seriously believing in it.” He wonders whether if Israel had “worked on” the 2002 Arab peace plan or the “practical and detailed Geneva process” (whatever he takes that to mean), the UNESCO vote would have even happened.
“Does anyone think some UN members would hurt Israel in this way without Israel having hurt others in Jerusalem?” Really, Mr. Adler? Wake up and smell the antisemitism! Or are you telling us that Israel brought this resolution upon itself? Does he honestly believe that the sponsors of the resolution – Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan, all models of democracy – or some of those who voted for it, such as Iran, Pakistan and Chad, acted only “as a frustrated reaction to current politics”? Does the idea ever come to mind that their motivation and intent was to once again attempt to delegitimize Israel and undermine its historical right to its capital city? My guess is that Mr. Adler has never visited Israel or, if he has, it has not been for a long, long time. I challenge him to visit the post-1967 neighborhoods and suburbs of modern Jerusalem and still call them “settlements.”
Just say the word, Mr. Adler, and I’ll meet you at the airport.
Ignoring one point
In his thoughtful “Peace, the ultimate deal” (Observations, May 5), Ilan Evyatar observes that any offer Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would make to the Palestinian Arabs “would be certainly far less generous than those [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas has already rejected.”
Although there is no shortage of issues that make a real peace virtually inconceivable in the foreseeable future, there is one crucial, negative dynamic that is almost universally ignored: the Arab expectation that they will never pay a price for saying no.
They have been conditioned to expect that every time they reject a proposal, no matter how overly generous, the world community will increase pressure on Israel to make even greater concessions, and that eventually Israel will cave in.
We must change that dynamic if there is ever to be any hope for peace.
The obvious first step is to quash the most perverse idea that was raised during the Camp David negotiations in 2000, so-called “land swaps,” where as compensation for not giving away some of the territory Jordan captured in 1948 and we recaptured in 1967, we would give the Palestinian Arabs some of the land Jordan had not captured in 1948.
When it comes to negotiating borders, it must be done in accordance with the meaning of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, which calls for an Israeli withdrawal from some, but not all, of the territory recaptured in 1967. The resolution called for negotiating secure borders and in no way envisioned Israel giving away additional territory.
While I would avoid building in the isolated “settlements,” slowly expanding the footprint of the consensus settlements close to the Green Line would increase the prospects for a peace agreement by sending a message to the Palestinian Arab leadership that the longer they reject peace, the less land they’ll wind up with. Although it’s obviously too much to hope for, if the world community were enlightened, it would support and even encourage such a stance.
‘Peace’ with Islam
Europe can learn a lot from Israel on how to combat Islam.
Israel can learn one thing from Europe: How to make peace with Islam.
Europe showed at Poitiers (753) and Vienna (1529 and 1683) how to react when Islam tries to occupy your country: Defend yourself with all your might. For Israel, the only possible way to make “peace” with Islam is by defeating the Islamic forces that want to destroy it.
The best contribution the US can make toward that peace is to move its embassy – against all Islamic threats – to Jerusalem.