x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Not keeping up with aspirations

All players in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are ignoring the changes sweeping the Middle East, a reader says. Other letter topics today: Tim Hortons, grammar, bottled water prices, and alfresco alcohol in Istanbul.

Will leaders on the international stage, including the Palestinian Authority's President Mahmoud Abbas, left, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon make progress on Palestinian statehood? Readers are doubtful. Thair Ghanaem / EPA
Will leaders on the international stage, including the Palestinian Authority's President Mahmoud Abbas, left, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon make progress on Palestinian statehood? Readers are doubtful. Thair Ghanaem / EPA

In regard to A UN Showdown the Palestinians can't afford to lose (September 21), it's true that the Arab Spring will get to Palestine sooner rather than later with the UN approach by the Palestinian Authority.

The problem is that Israel insists on negotiating its wish list as seen by its extremist settlers. Israel's response to the Arab Spring is further settlements. And the US declared to The Palestinians that its relationship with Israel is strategic and unwavering even if President Barack Obama cannot ask the Israelis to agree to a freeze of settlements. The US message to the Palestinians is "go and find yourselves another forum". The situation as it stands will have many casualties not least of which will be bloodshed in Ramallah and Jerusalem.

All concerned have ignored the changing times in the region. The position the US takes in the UN will cost it political capital, Israel is underestimating the anger of the youth, and the PA will have to choose whether it is part of the old Arab order or whether it is there to represent the people's aspirations.

All bets are that it will see itself as a threatened regime and will act in the same way as the Libyan and Syrian and Yemeni regimes.

Reema Ali, US

Barack Obama this week will resign himself to being a one-term president as he humiliatingly subjects himself to being the lapdog of the American Israel lobby - a powerful, unelected pressure group that now formulates US foreign policy.

This week, he will follow his received instructions to use the US veto in the UN Security Council to permanently damage the Palestinian people's application for international recognition, and membership of the United Nations; both being made to give a valid voice to five million Arabs - the majority indigenous people for more than 1000 years who were summarily dispossessed in 1948 by this same authority and who still live, 63 years later, under the harsh military control of a heavily-armed occupying force.

It would be difficult to think of any US president who has so completely lost all personal authority as his humiliating subservience to this non-elected lobby becomes transparent for the entire world to see.

John Kidd, UK

Why the hype over new coffee outlet?

I refer to the story Tim Hortons outlet in Dubai mobbed by Canadian expats (September 20).

This chain is a poor substitute for Starbucks.

In Canada people mix national pride with affordable prices and get the low quality that you can get only at Tim Hortons. There is basically nothing special about Tim: the decor is shabby, the coffee is just hot coloured water and the bagels are tasteless. I see no reason why people outside Canada should support Tim the same way Canadians insist (stubbornly) on patronising it back in Canada.

Ghassan Jamous, Dubai

Advert grammar was not incorrect

So Carmelia Petz (Get the grammar right in adverts, September 20) knows English grammar better than Shakespeare and Swift? Yes, better than them!

They both used "than" as a preposition followed, correctly, by the object pronoun. In this use, "than" may be replaced with "compared to". The Etisalat ad may not be very elegant (ads rarely are), but its meaning is clear, and it is certainly not "wrong". Ms Petz should Google "grammar: 'better than me'".

Philip Bowler, Abu Dhabi

Entry fee better than overcharging

This is in response to the recent story Restaurants' charges for water 'wrong and illegal'. This action against restaurateurs is so welcome.

Patrons have a right to drink with their meals without having to face extortion. If establishments really have to charge such high prices to remain viable then they should have an entrance fee.

At least then the extortion would be "honest".

Bruce Dauphin, Abu Dhabi

Commonsense leads to respect

I refer to the article A table outside sir? Not any more (September 21). I wonder if the decision of Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling party to ban alcohol served outdoors at restaurants has the slightest chance of stopping the nightlife in such a cosmopolitan city as Istanbul.

I have travelled for business and touristic purposes to many places all through my life and happily observed that religious people do not walk around alcohol-serving bars and restaurants and non-religious people do not walk around conservative places with their bikinis, mini skirts and T-shirts. I believe that this is mutual respect and acceptance and consensus and that this should be followed reasonably.

Gaye Caglayan, Dubai

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