In reference to Francine Klagsbrun’s Opinion piece (“Especially On Mideast, Words Do Matter,” June 10), she is, of course, correct that words do matter, but regrettably has misjudged its application in the case of “mutually agreed swaps.” A core issue that seems to escape her is simply that nations have interests. Furthermore, Israel is the only country in the world that is under constant siege and has been so since its inception.
Contrary to the belief of many American Jews, the U.S. has not always been in Israel’s corner and is, at the end of the day, a sovereign entity. As such, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s responsibility clearly lies in pursuing for Israel the “right to live in peace within secure and recognized borders” and “a just and lasting peace” as prescribed in United Nations Resolution 242.
Forgotten are the numerous concessions Israel has made to achieve peace only to be greeted by Arab intifadas, terrorism, anti-Semitism and boycotts.
As for the refugee problem, statesmen like Abba Eban and Yaacov Herzog, neither of them card-carrying members of a revisionist party, maintained that this was an Arab responsibility by virtue of the Arabs having initiated the War of Independence.
At a meeting in the U.S. in 1992, Prime Minister Yitzchak Shamir refused to acquiesce to U.S. demands at a time when Washington was holding back $10 billion in loan guarantees for Russian immigration. Despite much hostility, Shamir stood firm and Israel secured the loan.
Israel does not need to be a banana republic.