The Abbas statement

Sir, – The flurry of excitement over Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s recent interview on Channel 2 (“Peace divide,” Editorial November 5) evokes a weary feeling of déjà vu.

I recall the hysteria stirred up by the Guardian regarding the so-called “Palestine Papers” incident in January 2011. Notorious for its anti-Israel stance, the newspaper went to town castigating the Palestinian leadership as weak and craven for surrendering “land which the Palestinians have lived on for centuries.”

Now Abbas has acknowledged, in English and on Israeli TV – both important qualifications – that the “right of return” is an impractical concept in any twostate solution, only to see the headline in the Guardian: “Mahmoud Abbas outrages Palestinian refugees by waiving his right of return.”

NEVILLE TELLER
Beit Shemesh

Sir, – What will Mahmoud Abbas say in Arabic when we sign a “peace agreement?” What will Hamas and Islamic Jihad do? Fall in line? I doubt it.

HENRY TOBIAS
Ma’aleh Adumim

Land for water

Sir, – The article “Holy Sepulchre in row over unpaid NIS 9m. municipal water bill” (November 4) got me thinking.

I would love to stop paying my water, electric and other bills. I just don’t think I would get free water or anything else for very long. The fact that the Jerusalem Municipality let this problem go on for years is a shame.

Now the Greek Orthodox Church is threatening the Israeli government with closing this major Christian tourist site because it doesn’t want to pay.

Since the patriarchate owns so much property around Jerusalem, and because we need land for homes, hotels, etc., let’s just take what it owes in land instead of money.

DORRAINE GILBERT WEISS
Jerusalem

Right on Poland

Sir, – Bravo for an excellent article by Greer Fay Cashman (“A bittersweet return to Poland,” Travel Trends, November 4).

Newspaper articles about Poland are too often negative.

This article was especially well balanced and objective. It also touched my sense of nostalgia.

I feel grateful to a land that was a haven of refuge to my Jewish people for most of a thousand years, when persecution roared against us in many other countries of Europe. Having personally made more than a dozen visits to my birthplace and other communities in Poland, I agree with Cashman’s portrayal of today’s Poles as being friendly to Israel and desirous of learning more about Jewish culture.

The Jerusalem Post is a news channel of truth, and Cashman is doing a commendable service to promote the good relationship between Israel and Poland. Keep up the good work.

HILLEL GOLDBERG
Jerusalem

Let us join in

Sir, – I agree with Liat Collins (“Frighteningly small world,” Comment & Features, November 4) that we need to help each other to face natural disasters.

But to use her word, it is “surreal” to me that my country, the Republic of China (Taiwan), is neither a member nor an observer of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), whose 18th session is to be held later this month in Doha.

There are now 195 parties to the convention. It’s unfair to the 23 million people in Taiwan that the Republic of China is not. It is also a loophole in the global efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

Undaunted, Taiwan has voluntarily pledged to the UNFCCC that it will cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30 percent below the business-as-usual (BAU) level by 2020.

Carbon emissions are not an abstract concept in Taiwan. President Ying-Jeou Ma declared in May that developing an environment characterized by low carbon emissions and high reliance on green energy is one of the five pillars of the country’s long-term development goal.

Taiwan has the will, expertise and resources in developing green energy. We would like to join hands with the 195 parties in environmental protection and technological cooperation.

LIANG-JEN CHANG
Tel Aviv
The writer is representative at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office


UNICEF Israel

Sir, – Many thanks for the excellent article you published on November 2 regarding the Israeli Fund for UNICEF (“Judy Shalom Nir-Mozes named UNICEF Israel chairwoman”).

We strongly believe that Shalom Nir-Mozes will advance our vision to guarantee all children education, health, equality and the right to be heard out of the belief that Israel must be a strong partner with nations of the world in the humanitarian community.

We aim to make UNICEF a household name and touch the heart of every Israeli. Shalom Nir- Mozes’s leadership position in Israeli society will certainly enhance the advancing of our mission.

It is important to clarify, however, that we are an Israeli NGO that works together with UNICEF’s headquarters in New York and Geneva, but maintains its independence. Our mission is to make the State of Israel part of the international circle of industrialized nations that are partners in UNICEF’s mission to save children’s lives.

With Shalom Nir-Mozes’s strong voice we are confident we will reach our goals on behalf of all children in need.

SARIT HENIG
Tel Aviv
The writer is deputy director of the Israeli Fund for UNICEF

Apartheid? Not

Sir, – Having lived more than 50 years in South Africa, I am amazed when South African politicians claim that Israel is an apartheid state (“South African ruling party conference supports Israel boycott,” November 1).

The former deputy president Baleka Mbete even accused Israel of being worse than apartheid South Africa. Were she to spend only a few days in Israel, she would see that there is absolutely no resemblance to any aspects of apartheid and that Israel is a wonderful example of a democratic state.

When one reads in the same article that a German delegate at the international conference said that Israel cannot be compared to the apartheid regime, one realizes that the official South African attitude is one of blatant prejudice aggravated by the frequent pronouncements of Rev.

Desmond Tutu, who himself actively fought apartheid in the past.

Frankly, as one who always opposed apartheid, I feel disgust at the attitudes of current South African leaders.

MONTY M. ZION
Tel Mond

Support groups needed

Sir, – With regard to “Four myths about doctor-assisted suicide” (Comment & Features, November 1), the best way to deal with depression over terminal illness is to join the right kind of support group or create your own.

Gaman (http://www.gamani.co.il) is a closed Facebook group with over 600 members, young women in Israel with breast cancer.

Some are survivors, some are in treatment and some are terminal.

These women have chosen life and optimism. They share personal experiences and advice.

They listen, question, debate, laugh and, especially, love.

Gamani has social gatherings, lectures, fun days, workshops and trips. On October 26, members, families and friends met at the Tel Aviv port for a huge flashmob dance to raise awareness of the need for early detection and call all breast cancer patients to join the group.

There is an answer for women in Israel with breast cancer. But what of others? We need more groups like Gamani.

SHOSHANA LEPON
Beit Shemesh

CORRECTION The article “Remembering Isaac Ochberg, father of orphans” (Arts & Entertainment, November 5) was written by Lionel Slier, and not as noted.

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