Letters to the Editor: Can We Talk?

Israeli soldiers involved in Operation Northern Shield, near Metula, December 6, 2018.
Gil Eliyahu

Can we talk?

In response to “Israeli army says applying lessons learned in Gaza to foil Hezbollah’s tunnels” (Amos Harel, December 5.)

All Israeli residents will rightly support the arm’s destruction of attack tunnels into our country. Whether from Lebanon or Gaza, the tunnels are a dangerous threat to our soldiers and citizens. Nevertheless, one may question the allocation of resources to sealing Israel from the rest of the world. A combination of Iron Dome and other anti-missile defenses, plus underground barriers will surely ensure our security in the near future, but shouldn’t we at least consider attempting to deal with the source of these enterprises? Why not invest more effort in understanding and neutralizing the motivation of those digging the tunnels and firing the rockets?

One option is to use military means. In other words launch attacks against Hamas, Hezbollah and other forces that threaten us, but the defense establishment has shown a notable reluctance to apply such methods. This leaves us with the more rational approach of negotiation. Hamas clearly wants a so-called hudna, a long-term truce. Hezbollah has actually been observing such a truce since the Second Lebanon War. But how about talking to the Iranians, who support both these movements? This would go to the heart of the matter and, if successful, result in long-term security for Israel.

Most Israelis will voice skepticism about this proposal, suggesting that there is nothing to talk about with a nation that describes us as a “cancer” and calls for our destruction, but it should be pointed out that the Saudi initiative, later the Arab Peace Initiative, calling for peace with Israel in exchange for its withdrawal to the pre-Six-Day War borders and the establishment of a Palestinian state, has been accepted by the Muslim countries also, including Iran. We may be reluctant to accept the terms of the initiative, as stated, but surely there is a basis here for negotiation.

How about setting aside the doomsday scenario, whereby Israel has to live with a perpetual existential threat, and trying a more hopeful way?

Daniel Gavron

Motza Ilit

We can handle the truth

In response to “Voters, not the police or the courts, should decide Netanyahu’s future” (Alan M. Dershowitz, December 6)

Of necessity, criminal prosecutions are started out of the public eye, allowing investigators to freely engage sources and assess their credibility. If they decide a crime has occurred and it is worth prosecuting, they indict. The trial or plea is where the public learns the whole truth. 
If a politician’s crimes include manipulation of the media, as the charges here imply, the need for a trial or robust investigation to out all of the facts is even more apparent. Dershowitz thinks Israelis, and the rest of us with a stake in Israel’s survival, can’t handle the truth. I think they, and we, can.

Stuart Wilder,

via Haaretz.com

Police harassment

Thank God for Alan Dershowitz, who is not afraid to shout that the emperor (in this case the Israel Police) has no clothes. Surely our ironmen of the law have better things to do than harass politicians who smoke bigger cigars than their own. How about catching criminals, or is that too difficult and dangerous ?

David Frank,

via Haaretz.com

A better way?

In response to “A Hezbollah blitzkrieg: Tunnels on Israel-Lebanon border reveal attack plan” (Amos Harel, December 6) 

The discovery of the tunnel threat on the northern border and its presumed removal by the army show that the generations-old conflict continues. Is this hide-and-seek the best that can be done under circumstances that have barely changed in seven decades and look to be still with us in 2019 and far beyond? 

The capacity of human beings to regroup and develop new tactics in long-running wars has been a constant of history. But the results of such endeavor have always been unfortunate for nations and individuals, the morality of each move and countermove in too many cases being more than questionable.

Is there any morally acceptable way of engaging in warfare that does not diminish and demean our common humanity, offering us only regret and recrimination that we could not conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the best that is in our nature and not its worst?

John Cronin,

via Haaretz.com

Mendelblit’s tricks

One would have to be stupid or living on another planet not to see that Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit is using every trick in the book to protect Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from indictment. He is dragging this case out to the max, in the hope that the public will eventually lose interest. One of his latest tricks is the enlargement of the legal team overseeing the cases. The intention is to create as much diversity of oppinion as possible so as not to form a consensus (clever trick).

It is absurd that the decision whether to indict is given to one individual. In the U.S., these decsions are made by a grand jury.

One has to think that knowing Mendelblit is a religious person, he must be cognizant of the fact that if this current governing coalition is replaced, there is a strong possibiity that a new one will be much “less religious,” and that would not suit him at all.

The Israeli public deserves better. We are now being exposed to the real depths of corruption that this country has sunk to. It has become a cesspool of corruption. It is beginning to make Israel look like a Third-World banana republic.

The megalomaniac on Balfour Street in Jerusalem (and his wife) need to be given their pink slips so that someone responsible can replace them and clean house. The only ones who will miss them are those exclusive restaurants in Jerusalem that provided all those gourmet take-away meals, at the public’s expense.

Mitchell Radov

Ashdot Ya’akov
 
Answering Danon

In addressing the United Nations on the 71 anniversary of the vote to partition Palestine, Israeli UN ambassador Danny Dannon set three conditions in which Palestinians can have a bright future. While his speech offered nothing new in content, here is a Palestinian response to Danon. 

Israel can have a long and lasting peace beginning tomorrow if it meets these three conditions.

1. Honor all UN resolutions, not only the one it likes. No cherry-picking!

2. Lift the strangling and inhumane siege on the Gaza Strip! Collective punishment is a form of war crime.

3. Free the 5,640 Palestinian political prisoners (including women and children) currently being held in Israeli prisons.

Mahmoud El-Yousseph

Westerville, Ohio

On political assassinations

In response to “A Swedish lesson in political violence” (David Stavrou, November 12)

Tragic events may cause national traumas, especially when they are not solved, as in the murder of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme in Stockholm as he and his wife left a movie theater in February 1986.
Stavrou draws a link between the murder of Palme and that of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin after a peace rally in Tel Aviv on November 4, 1995.

In both cases, he rightly writes, democratic societies were challenged by forces who use violence and must find the strength to defend themselves against those who abuse fundamental freedoms and rights. 

In Israel the murderer was a Jewish right-wing extremist, who was immediately apprehended and has been sentenced to life in prison. The repercussions of the murder, however, are still felt in Israel. A promising peace process was derailed and has not gotten back on track since then.

The incitement inside Israel against “leftist” peace proponents has continued unabated.

In Sweden, the murderer was never caught and the field was left open for speculations and conspiracy theories. But this doesn’t imply, as Stavrou claims, that the murder didn’t expose divides in Swedish society, though not of the same magnitude as in Israel.

Olof Palme was a controversial politician in his own country and part of the bourgeois opposition hated him. One of the tracks in the murder investigation was the so-called police track concerning allegations that a cell of far-right policemen was behind the murder but it wasn’t sufficiently examined.

While both Israel and Sweden had to cope with the traumas following political assassinations, Sweden still “sanctifies freedom of expression and freedom of assembly” in a way that even Israel, despite its incomparably more difficult security situation, could learn from instead of copying illiberal policies from other countries.

Mose Apelblat

Kfar Sava

Happy birthday, ‘ol Blue Eyes’

Legendary singer/actor/producer/director and a staunch supporter of Israel, Frank Sinatra was born 103 years ago, on December 12, 1915. His talent in the entertainment field has endured through the years and it is a testament to his abilities. Join me in wishing ‘Ole Blue Eyes’ a very Happy Birthday along with such luminaries as jazz singer Peggy King and the All-Star Jazz Trio, music archivist Anthony DiFlorio III, talent promoter Billy Jon Coogan, musician George Roumanis (bass), Tony Bennett, WYYR program director Chris Valenti, Diana Krall and add Willie Nelson’s beautiful new tribute CD titled, ‘My Way’ featuring 11 songs made popular by Sinatra. Happy 103rd Birthday, Frank! May you keep swingin’ among the stars with the rest of those entertainers who left us all too soon.

Herb Stark

Mooresville, North Carolina