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August 28, 2015 / 13 Elul, 5775
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Letters To The Editor

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For Shame

Thank you for listing by name the Cabinet members who voted for and against the release of Palestinian prisoners in advance of the renewed so-called peace negotiations (“Israeli Cabinet Agrees to Release Palestinian Prisoners,” news story, Aug. 2).

It is important to know which Israeli elected officials have their heads on straight and which do not. I cannot fathom the thinking of those who would so denigrate the memories of Israelis murdered by these terrorists. I cannot imagine the feelings of their families.

For shame, Mr. Prime Minister. Just as you did in your first term in office in the late 1990s, you are proving to be a man of tough words with no backbone to back those words up.

Paltiel Korn
(Via E-Mail)

Is He Serious?

Re: “Perversity on Display” (editorial, Aug. 2):

How is it that our secretary of state, John Kerry, with so much experience in international affairs, continues to pressure Israel to make a deal with Mahmoud Abbas, when Hamas – which is violently adamant in opposing peace with Israel – governs nearly the same number of Palestinians as he does?

Hamas also drew more votes than Abbas’s Fatah party in the last parliamentary elections. In addition, the presidential term Abbas was elected to ran out years ago and he has illegally stayed on as president after scuttling scheduled elections out of fear of losing. He is still there only because there is no mechanism to kick him out. Kerry can’t be serious.

Elaine Rich
Los Angeles, CA

Kerry, Abbas, And Borders

I was under the impression that negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority were designed to resolve the territorial disputes between the two sides. Instead, Mahmoud Abbas during his recent trip to Egypt established his minimal territorial requirements with the statement that no land acquired during Israel’s defensive 1967 war could remain as part of Israel and all of the 650,000 Israeli Jews living there had to be removed leaving the area completely Judenrein, including all of East Jerusalem with the Temple Mount.

At the same time, Secretary of State Kerry, in comments reported in both Israeli and Arab newspapers, told a congressman that under any peace agreement Israel would retain 85 percent of its largest settlements, not defining what is meant by large.

The dichotomy between the two positions is obvious but even more disturbing is that Kerry has decided that it is his prerogative to establish the final borders of the state of Israel.

Nelson Marans
Silver Spring, MD

The Appalling Mr. Indyk

I am appalled at the choice of Martin Indyk as the U.S. special envoy on Middle East peace negotiations (“Kerry Names Indyk to Top Peace Negotiator Post,” news story, Aug. 2).

As a senior official in the Clinton administration involved in the Middle East, Indyk missed few opportunities to pressure Israel to act against its security interests in making concessions to the Palestinians in the illusory quest for peace.

Just as the Palestinians were emboldened then to think that the U.S. would run interference for them, now too they will just wait for Indyk to lower the boom on Israel. This happened when Arafat saw he had nothing to lose by being recalcitrant and it will happen again.

Avraham Berman
Jerusalem

One-Sided Concessions

Why do negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians often begin with concessions by Israel? History has shown that Israeli concessions lead to emboldened Palestinians, not peace. There’s little incentive for the Palestinians to negotiate in good faith if their demands are met up front.

And when Palestinian terrorists are released to come back to murder again, it makes a mockery out of these “peace negotiations.” Israel must make some reciprocal demands on the Palestinians and hold them to it.

Josh Greenberger
Brooklyn, NY

The Difference

Gary Bauer was quite clear and explicit in “Why This Christian Supports Israel” (op-ed, Aug. 2). But he omitted something very important. While he did note that on 9/11 Israel sent us messages of sympathy and support, he neglected to mention that our other purported ally in the region, Saudi Arabia, sent us nineteen killers, who murdered 3,000 innocent people.

While Israel continues to send us only blessings, others in the region consistently send us terrorists.

Samuel Deitel
(Via E-Mail)

Legislative vs. Executive (I)

You seem to make a persuasive case that the idea of exclusive presidential control of American foreign policy is just a myth and that both the president and Congress share authority (“The Zivotofsky Case and U.S. Foreign Policy,” editorial, Aug. 2).

What happens, however, when as in this case, there is disagreement? Who prevails? Can our government speak with two voices internationally? Also, aren’t we afraid that individual senators and House members are too vulnerable to pressure groups and could vote for policies to appease them? A president has to be careful as well, but he is in a far stronger position.

Victor Alexander
Cincinnati, OH

Legislative vs. Executive (II)

What would happen if Congress overrode a presidential veto and a law was enacted that said the State Department could not spend any money on regulating U.S. passports unless it allowed American citizens born in Jerusalem to list Israel as their place of birth?

Would this be governed by the principle of the Congressional “power of the purse” or that of presidential power over foreign affairs?

Herb Steinberg
(Via E-Mail)

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