July 8: Who’s sorry now?

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s hard line – including support for Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran – demonstrates Ankara’s sharp turn toward Islamism.

(photo credit:)
(photo credit: )
Who’s sorry now?
Sir, – Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman was wrong to cite the US refusal to apologize for killing 25 Pakistani soldiers when he was discussing Israel’s refusal to apologize to Turkey for the Mavi Marmara deaths (“US apology to Pakistan may pave way for similar Israel-Turkey rapprochement,” July 5). There are vast differences between.
The Pakistani soldiers who died as the result of an accidental US helicopter attack posed no threat to American military personnel.
The armed thugs who died aboard the Mavi Marmara initiated the confrontation. Had they not attacked Israeli commandos who legally boarded the ship there would have been no injuries or deaths.
The US apology has already achieved its main goal: Pakistan has announced it will reopen NATO’s supply lines into neighboring Afghanistan.
The supply line’s closure was costing the US $100 million per month. Still, the US refused to accede to any Pakistani demands (e.g., a cessation of all drone strikes within Pakistan) other than the apology.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s hard line – including support for Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran – demonstrates Ankara’s sharp turn toward Islamism.
While perhaps temporarily thawing the frozen bilateral relations, an Israeli apology would only raise Turkey’s stature in the Arab world by highlighting its willingness to oppose the Zionist entity. Iran would be emboldened as its strongest ally in the region celebrates a clear victory against their common nemesis.
Turkey likely would continue to demand that Israel lift the Gaza blockade, and in the end Israel would have very little to show for its submission to a country whose interests lie elsewhere.
On the other hand, Israel should certainly be willing to restore normal relations once Turkey apologizes.
Zichron Ya’acov
Rights on the Mount
Sir, – Michael Freund is absolutely right (“Anti-Semitism on the Temple Mount,” Fundamentally Freund, July 5). Where is the outcry when Jewish rights are trampled? Why do we let this discrimination continue? Jews don’t riot when Arabs pray there, so why should they be allowed to do so when we pray there? We should have taken real control of the Temple Mount in 1967.
Our police should stand up for equal rights, allow Jews to pray there and put down forcefully any riots the Arabs start until they understand they cannot be there unless they are peaceful. The world will surely scream, but it screams anyway. It will learn to respect us if we respect ourselves.
Have the lessons of history already been lost? Why do we consistently fear to stand up for ourselves? If we don’t, no one will.
Sir, – Finally, someone speaks out loudly on the outrageous policy of not allowing Jews to pray on the Temple Mount.
Hopefully, others will follow Michael Freund by coming out against the current policy of discrimination.
Where are the human rights organizations that never cease blaming Israel for the most trivial things? Where are the left-wing organizations that care about social justice? Where are our religious leaders? Where are the religious Zionists who refuse to go up to the Temple Mount even though we know exactly where to walk and where not to walk? If we don’t use it we will lose it, and that is apparently what is happening.
Sir, – What is it that makes us so ready to crawl and grovel to those that attack us, always ready to apologize, always ready to admit we’re in the wrong? Our attitude is humiliating and only shames us.
We would do better to involve ourselves in correcting the disgraceful attitude toward Jews on our holiest site at the Temple Mount. We are a disgrace to ourselves and to those who died in liberating Jerusalem.
There should be but one answer if there is even a vestige of pride left in this government: Take back our holy sites. Only in a black comedy would your enemy be put in charge of that which is holiest to you.
Sir, – The Temple Mount is the focal point of Zion. As Zionists, how dare we allow the fundamentalist Islamic Wakf to dictate Jewish behavior on the site! It was a major error to give the Wakf these powers after the miraculous victory of the Six Day War. By doing so we sacrificed Jewish sensibilities to Muslim sensibilities. We’re now in the same position the British were in during the Mandate period when they prohibited Jews from sounding the shofar at the Western Wall during Rosh Hashana and at the end of Yom Kippur, lest it upset the Arabs.
After 64 years as free Jews in an independent State of Israel, it’s time we relinquish those Diaspora values of deferring to the gentiles.
Ganei Tikva
Money woes
Sir, – Regarding “PA incapable of paying June salaries” (July 4), two steps could be taken immediately to balance the Palestinians’ budget.
First, stop paying $5 million per month to terrorists in Israeli jails. Second, stop wasting 60 percent of the Palestinian Authority budget by paying civil service salaries to Fatah loyalists in Gaza who are not working.
These payments are thinly disguised bribes to ensure loyalty to Fatah. The PA should instead plow the money into infrastructure and development, and watch its economy pick up and job prospects improve.
In the meantime it should make Hamas pay its own bills in Gaza. Maybe if the terror entity has to cover its own costs it won’t be spending so much on missiles.
Sir, – I would like to give some free advice to the Palestinian Authority as to how solve its financial problems.
The shortfall of $1.4 billion is approximately the amount stolen by Palestinian hero Yasser Arafat and which seems to have ended up in the hands of his merry widow. Why the PA should choose to ignore this and instead – predictably – blame the occupation is a question that should be taken up.
Bordering respect
Sir, – Reader James Adler (“Two-way street,” Letters, July 1) asks: “If the Green Line is really dead and buried, is the blockade to movement being kissed goodbye in both directions? Or is one of the two peoples still impeded at the border while the other is free to move across?” The answer is clear. Arabs may be “impeded” but they have freedom of movement if they aren’t carrying weapons or explosives. I, as a Jew, am barred from visiting the Joseph’s Tomb, the ancient synagogue floor outside Jericho, and countless other sites germane to my culture and history. And even though there is no barrier or big red warning sign, I enter Issawiya, the village neighboring my home in French Hill, at great risk.
Yes, blatant asymmetry does exist, but there is some hope.
A minor example: Notified that a book was waiting for me I went to the local post office to find “standing room only,” with most of those waiting residents of Issawiya.
Almost immediately a young man from that neighborhood, culturally unaware that Westerners don’t like to be reminded of their age, stood up to give me his seat.
If respect for age can transcend borders of “peoplehood,” one can look forward to a time when geographical borders become superfluous.