Letters to the Editor / December 10, 2012

Obama bet on the wrong horse - Morsi

The situation in Egypt is fraught with danger. The ordinary Egyptian does not want a Muslim Brotherhood dictatorship. He wants food and butter and not bullets. He did not dispose of Mubarak in order to get a more brutal Mubarak. The United States under Obama has made a catastrophic mistake in handling Egypt. Muslim dictatorship cannot fulfill the needs of the people.

The United States was so anxious not to have Israel achieve its goals in Gaza that it perceived Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi as a great address for a cease-fire. Morsi then proceeded with the carte blanche that he had from the United States, knowing that he could become a more ruthless dictator. Money would flow from the United States but the people in Egypt would not benefit from it. Therefore the ordinary Egyptians need to know that there will be some sort of democracy and that the Muslim Brotherhood is not the answer to a better life for the Egyptian and his family. The United States should finally learn that the Muslim who lives in the United States is not the same Muslim who lives elsewhere, and to understand that Islam cannot achieve economic prosperity in areas of the world where it brutalizes its people.

Toby Willig


Just wait until The Hague rules on settlements

In the UN General Assembly vote, 75 percent of the world supported the establishment of the state of Palestine within the 1967 borders, including East Jerusalem as its capital. The only difference between the 1947 vote for Israel and the 2012 vote for Palestine is that Israel became a member state while Palestine became an observer state, but a state nonetheless. If the Palestinians go to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Palestine will be accepted as a member. (When the Palestinians tried this a year ago, the ICC's chief prosecutor said that they couldn't become a member because Palestine wasn't a state, but that has since changed. ) And if Palestine argues before the court that Israel is occupying its country, the court will rule that Israel is in violation of international law and must withdraw to the 1967 border. The court will also rule as an occupying power, Israel is barred by international law from settling its own citizens within the occupied state. This means that all of the settlements would need to be removed. The Chelmites in the government and Knesset who claimed that the vote in the United Nations was merely symbolic will be shown to be fools.

Ken Kalcheim


According to a Western diplomat quoted recently in Haaretz, there have been discussions in the EU since the beginning of the year concerning settler violence against Palestinians in Area C, amid a "culture of impunity" on the Israeli side. It appears that a blacklist of "known violent settlers" has been compiled, and it has been suggested that, in the interest of efforts by both sides to solve the conflict, preventive action on the part of the EU should be considered. Specifically, it was suggested that "known violent settlers" should be denied entry into EU countries. Several members of a committee of Middle East experts who were involved in these recommendations recently visited the West Bank and Israel.

The visit, as well as the preparation of the blacklist, apparently caught the Foreign Ministry by surprise and evoked a predictably angry reaction. The spokesman, Yigal Palmor, in his indignation faulted the "esteemed experts" for neglecting simple logic: "As for the inflammatory proposal to refuse to admit what they call 'known violent settlers' because Israel hasn't put them on trial, there's an internal contradiction there. How will a person be defined as a violent settler if he hasn't been convicted? And if he has been convicted, then Israel has brought him to justice."

In other words, whoever has not been convicted by us, can't be guilty. It seems to have escaped Mr. Palmor that before people are tried and convicted they have to be charged, and before anyone is charged the situation in which violence has been used must be investigated. Can he guarantee that in most cases this is indeed what happens? Can he provide figures for the number of settlers who have been convicted of violence against Palestinians, and also for the punishments for which they were sentenced? If not, he does his own and our cause a disservice by challenging the Europeans' logic.

Anita Mittwoch


Turkey and the occupation - its own in Cyprus

In response to "Why Palestinians yes, Kurds no?" (Ofra Bengio, Opinion, December 7 ).

Prof. Ofra Bengio correctly points out the inconsistencies in Turkish positions vis-a-vis the Palestinians, but I think she should take this point further. As a growing regional power, Turkey has attempted to influence the peace process between Israel and her neighbors, often expressing harsh criticism of Israeli policies. The best way for Turkey to help bring about peace, however, would be by example. Turkey should end its decades-long occupation of one-third of the territory of Cyprus (an EU member state ), remove its troops from there, return the estimated 150,000 Turkish settlers in Cyprus to the mainland, dissolve the so-called Turkish Republic of Cyprus (recognized only by Turkey ) and allow the reunification of the island, and finally permit all Greek refugees to return to their former homes in the north of the island. Prime Minister Erdogan should then announce an unlimited cease-fire with the PKK in Turkey, release all Kurdish political prisoners and renounce cross-border raids into Kurdish areas of Iraq. If Turkey would carry out even some of these tasks, then it would be in a moral and political position to preach to Israel about how it should behave towards the Palestinians.

Prof. Gershon Bacon

Bar-Ilan University