Sovereignty sophistry

ANNEXATION IS likely to generate a tragedy for Israel with tragic consequences for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s reputation in history.  (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
ANNEXATION IS likely to generate a tragedy for Israel with tragic consequences for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s reputation in history.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Regarding “Netanyahu’s annexation interest” (June 19), Herb Keinon may be right when he says only 27% of the Israeli public is behind annexation now, but he omitted to mention that it is because they do not want a Palestinian state to be part of the bargain.
But why does it have to be part and parcel of any deal? Every lawyer dealing in international law will tell you that all the land from “the river to the sea” legally belongs to Israel, even if our government repeatedly refers to it as disputed territory. It was decided at San Remo in 1920, accepted by the League of Nations in 1922 and ratified by the United Nations. (Refer to the June 18 Jerusalem Post article “International law, the Israeli government and annexation.”) US President Donald Trump produced the Deal of the Century offering the Palestinians a state, which they immediately declined. Even if Trump insists on a “Palestinian” state, why is Israel committed to accepting it? To quote prime minister Menachem Begin when US president Ronald Reagan threatened to terminate the US strategic cooperation agreement if Begin applied sovereignty to the Golan Heights and east Jerusalem, “Israel is neither a banana republic nor a vassal state.” The same applies today.
As an independent state, we have the right to apply Israeli law to any parts of Judea and Samaria, and all of it if we so wish, without a “by your leave” from the American president, and we do not have to create a new Arab state in the very heart of our own small country. The American president and the United States are our closest friends and allies. They will understand and accept it.
EDMUND JONAH
Rishon Lezion
We all feel the pressure Israel is up against once again from the world, this time over “annexation.” Aside from all the time, energy and money this situation costs Israel, there are aspects causing the country considerable harm.
On one central aspect of this latest “crisis” many agree, but nobody is doing anything about it. That is the fact that Israel – its government and its media – are very largely responsible for all the hype, which could have been avoided at no cost and with minimal effort.
It took less than half an hour yesterday to collect about six excellent recent articles setting out the internationally legal status of the “West Bank” and proving unequivocally that there is no such thing as Israel “annexing” part of that territory, which is already under Israeli sovereignty. This is well known by all those who were interested enough to delve honestly into the legal situation. With a certain dishonesty, the legal status can be interpreted otherwise, but dealing with that is a separate subject.
At most, the present intention is to change the administration of part of this area from military law (instituted after Jordan invaded and was later driven out of the territory) back to civil law.
This should have been done without any hype whatever and almost without outsiders noticing. However, we Israelis have a reputation for being smart, so we had to shout out to the world that we are considering “annexing” the territory, thus initiating a wild frenzy of anti-Israel sentiment and widespread action against Israel.
The word “annexation” still appears large as life in the main headings at the top of the front pages of The Jerusalem Post, undermining Israel’s PR efforts. 
CHARLES SMITH
Shoresh
Perhaps what the region needs is not a US plan and not a EU plan, but rather a face-to-face negotiated plan between Israel and the representatives of Arab Palestinians, not based on borders from 1947, 1956, 1967, 1973 or any other date, but rather on common sense and existing population centers.
A viable peace with integrity is possible.
SAM ROSENBLUM
Beit Shemesh
In “‘Netanyahu will never recognize a Jewish state” (June 17), Boris Johnson claims that Israel sovereignty is against international law. My question, is which law? The only law that really counts is that written in the Bible, reinforced by agreement at San Remo. 
When the British received the mandate for the Palestine by the League of Nations it was with the understanding that this was set aside for a homeland for the Jews. Did the British obey their assigned task? They did not. They did all they could to refuse entry of Jews to the land, both before, during and after World War II. With this history, it is of utmost of “chutzpah” for a British leader to deny the legal right of the Jewish people to assume civilian rule of territory to which they have legal and religious right. 
My father-in-law saw one of the few legal papers for himself in 1933 when he understood the intent of the rise of Hitler. It left his wife (who, in fact, had been born in Jerusalem) and three children in Poland and came here to the land that he longed for and which he never left again in his lifetime. It took another year to get legal permits for his family, which joined him in 1934. Their remaining parents and siblings who stayed in Europe all perished. My father-in-law had an uncle in the USA who would have happily have sponsored them there, but he knew in his soul that Israel was the place where he and his family belonged and made sure that this would there that they would be.
It is not for the British or any other foreign nation to refuse us the right to be where we are supposed to be!
ANNABELLE HOROWITZ
Petah Tikva
In “The 30% solution” (Letters, June 17), Dr. Munjed Fatid Al Qutob opines that a move by Israel toward annexation “which entrenches apartheid” is opposed by the “global community.”
The PA has reiterated many times that a Palestinian state will not permit a single Israeli/Jew to live in it. This is not apartheid? Meanwhile, Israel’s hundreds of thousands of Arab citizens enjoy full rights.
Al Qutob’s biased use of the word “apartheid” is inconsistent with truth and reality. 
RIVKA MARK
Jerusalem
1) Regarding “Borelli: Annexation to have significant ‘consequences’ for EU-Israeli ties” (June 17), what has the EU done to help bring about the negotiated two-state agreement that it so desires? 
Has it urged the Palestinian leaders to return to the negotiating table, willing to hammer out a deal (which would undoubtedly require concessions from them as well as from Israel)? Has the EU urged the Palestinian leaders to begin preparing their people for life in a state co-existing, peacefully, with the nation-state of the Jews?
Perhaps High Commissioner for Foreign Affairs Josep Borelli could take a step toward making the EU part of the solution (rather than being part of the problem) by lobbying his bosses to stop funding Palestinian illegal construction in Area C. Then the EU would have money to fund economic development in Areas A and B (carefully monitored, of course, to ensure that the money doesn’t get embezzled or diverted to efforts to destroy Israel).
2) Regarding “Jewish status of 2,200 children suspended” (June 17), enough already. There are people who have been persecuted for being Jews, even if they are not Jewish according to Halacha. The Law of Return permits people who have one Jewish grandparent to come to Israel and obtain citizenship. Israel needs to retain its Jewish majority. The religious community in Israel should reach out to non-halachically Jewish olim to begin introducing them to the heritage they were denied by their persecutors; the state rabbinate should not put roadblocks in their path to conversion (by, for instance, insisting that a would-be convert had to get his or her entire family to convert or that the new convert had to become completely observant immediately upon conversion). 
About 10 years ago, there was a call for the annulment of all of the conversions performed by a rabbi because one of his converts had been seen in a store on Shabbat. Now we’re hearing that the Interior Ministry can reverse the decisions of even the official rabbinate.
A truly regrettable state of affairs.
TOBY F. BLOCK
Atlanta, GA
Who’s to judge? 
Regarding “Protecting Justice” (June 16), it is sad that judges and the prime minister are receiving death threats. This must be condemned and the police must put its hands on these criminals as fast as possible.
On the other hand, we witness a continuous erosion in the standing of the Supreme Court, which today lacks public consensus. The Court is becoming more powerful, reducing the power and governability of the elected government and Knesset. 
Any intervention in the legislation process of our elected Knesset should happen only in very exceptional circumstances. However, in Israel, this is not the case. Any legislation approved by Majority Knesset, has become subject to review by the Supreme Court, an institution without any supervision or accountability for its actions and judgments. It has developed into a “superpower.” 
An overhaul of this judicial system is imperative to restore the balance of power between the parliament and the Supreme Court. Such overhaul will reduce the social tensions and frictions in our society, which feels that the unelected judges have overtaken the rule of law according to their ideology.
I therefore recommend a simple law, in order to restore the supremacy of Knesset, like in any democratic country and society:
“If the Supreme Court intervenes in the legislation process of the Knesset, then the verdicts of the Supreme Court will have no binding authority, but be viewed as recommendations. The Legislation Committee of the Knesset is entitled to decide whether to bring these recommendations forward for vote to the Knesset. If yes, then the Knesset will vote and decide whether to endorse or reject these recommendations of the High Court. The vote of the Knesset will be final.” 
Such a law will return the ultimate power to the Knesset, as in any democratic society. This is real democracy, where voters will feel again, that their votes count and have influence.
SHLOMO FELDMANN
Givatayim
Cruzin’ for a bruising
Regarding “Will the US force Jordan to extradite Sbarro terrorist?” (June 17), it outrages me to read that even though Ahlam Tamimi helped plan and aided the 2001 Sbarro restaurant suicide bombing in Jerusalem, during the Second Intifada, causing 145 casualties, including 15 fatalities, she gained her freedom and is living in Jordan. There was no justice here; my blood boiled when I read this.
To me, it was a major lack of sanity and justice to include her (with so much blood on her hands) in the 2011 prisoner swap agreement Israel made with Hamas to secure the release of IDF soldier Gilad Schalit. 
Three cheers to US Senator Ted Cruz for his call for justice, since two of the murdered people were Americans. He wants Ahlam Tamimi, who is on the FBI’s “most wanted list” to face a court in the US and get what she deserves. At the moment, Jordan is refusing to extradite Tamimi.
At the end of the day, The Holy One will decide on the ultimate justice. 
STEVE JACOB
Jerusalem
Curious conclusions
“Trump at odds with most Americans’ views” (June 19) claims that “Trump takes the less-popular side of issues that Americans right now say matter, such as the coronavirus pandemic and police reform, according to an analysis of Reuters/Opsos polling data since March.” 
What are readers to make of this – that Trump is for the coronavirus while most Americans are against it? Or that he is against police reform while other American are for it? What question did Reuters/Ipsos pose to those being polled that led to these curious conclusions?
Later, “Trump has also rejected growing calls for sweeping police reform proposals…” Has he really? No statement by Trump is cited in the article that displays his rejection of a ban on, e.g., choke holds, a requirement to wear body cameras or allowing independent investigations of police departments. 
How are we to understand “None of the measures was included in a police reform measure Trump signed this week?” What does “included” mean here? If, as has widely been reported, he encouraged state and local officials to “certify that law enforcement is meeting higher standards for the use of force and de-escalation training,” how is that excluding any of the measures mentioned in the article?
DAVID EICHLER 
Beersheba
Don’t lose your cool
Regarding “Could there be an Israel without air conditioning?” (June 21), we have to accept that we are living in the Middle East, and that European styles of building and behavior are just not suitable.
My husband and I live in the same small house where we brought up four children, with no air conditioning and very little use of fans.
Early on in our occupancy, we had the roof and the west wall heat-insulated. In hot weather, all the windows and shutters in the east, south and west walls are kept closed all day, keeping out the heat as one keeps out the cold in the winter. They are opened only when the sun sets and the evening breeze starts. They are left open all night, so that the house can be cooled by the night air.
We are careful that no sun shines on glass windows, creating a hothouse effect, and we also keep all inner doors closed during the day, so that each room stays cool. The insulation is also effective in helping to keep the house warm in winter.
Houses built in the fashion of an inner room or courtyard are even easier to keep cool. Roofs and overhangs to windows can be built in such a way that the lower-level winter sun shines into the rooms, while the higher-level summer sun does not. Windows can also be inset, as was done by Moshe Safdie, a most environmentally conscious architect.
FANNY MYERS 
Beit Zayit