August 31: Hizbullah's hostages

It is a given that the kidnapers wouldn't let the Red Cross see their prisoners - when was the last time they did that?

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August 30, 2006 22:21
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Hizbullah's hostages Sir, - Unless the government knows something it isn't telling us about our three soldiers taken captive by the terrorist organizations, I think it is wrong to keep fanning the hopes of their loved ones ("Family 'celebrates' Shalit's birthday on Gaza border," August 29). It is a given that the kidnapers wouldn't let the Red Cross see their prisoners - when was the last time they did that? - but if they were alive, then surely Gilad Shalit, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev would have by now been paraded, for psychological warfare purposes, on those crude, widely-shown videos designed to tear at the heartstrings of those who view them. That they have not leads me to believe that the government should be operating on the basis that the soldiers are no more, and gently bringing the families to accept it, with all the pain involved. After that we must remind ourselves that we are dealing with a very cruel enemy and should on no account agree, as we have done in the past, to trade live terrorists held in our jails for the remains of our fallen. The only prisoners the government should consider exchanging are those taken subsequent to the abduction of our soldiers - in the Palestinian case, members of the Palestinian National Council, and in the case of Hizbullah, captives taken in the course of the war. The lesson should be: There is no benefit in taking Israeli hostages. JOSEPH WEISSMAN Ra'anana Sir, - We want to say to Gilad Shalit's family: We live in the comfort and safety of the United States but have visited Israel several times and support you every day through many organizations. We recently attended a rally in support of Gilad Shalit. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. SHELLEY AND ED KOHL Michigan Beautiful bombers? Sir, - Are the "very beautiful, kind-hearted and caring Palestinian people," as described by the two Fox journalists Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig, the same people who gave out sweets and sang and danced in the streets when Saddam Hussein sent Scuds over Tel Aviv, when thousands of Americans were killed in 9/11, and when Israelis have been blown to smithereens using their homicide bombers? ("Mystery surrounds identity of Fox journalists' kidnappers. Freed reporter Centanni: Palestinian people are very beautiful and kind-hearted," August 28.) STELLA HERSH Netanya Echo of appeasement Sir, - Has Gershon Baskin no shame? ("A question that should be asked," August 29.) As one who applauded the shameful retreat from Lebanon six years ago, he apparently has learned nothing from recent events. Those of us who lived through World War II hear echoes of the prewar calls for appeasement masked as diplomacy. Mr. Baskin envisions "peace in our time" if we would only sit down with the power brokers of Lebanon, all champing at the bit to make peace with us a la Egypt and Jordan. Considering Hizbullah's hold over Lebanon before the hostilities, the advice to use diplomacy rather than force would have left us with catastrophic consequences down the road. Hizbullah desires our destruction. Ditto Hamas. Iran is acquiring the means to destroy us. A question for Mr. Baskin: Do you truly believe that that Hamas and Hizbullah will alter their goal if we approach them diplomatically? BERT ABELL Jerusalem Hezballad Sir, - A Mideast limerick: Those HezBeens did hazard a raid, From behind a LebanBody barr'cade; They shot off their rockets, (From deep Iranian pockets) And got more HezDollahs in aid! JIM HITCHING Winnipeg, Canada 'Half my kingdom' Sir, - There's an interesting parallel to "Ahmadinejad would sacrifice half of Iran to wipe out Israel" (August 25) in the Purim story. In both cases the leader of Persia/Iran offers "half his kingdom" for a specific goal. In the earlier case King Ahasuerus desires to reward Queen Esther and the Jews; in the recent one the desire is the opposite - to destroy Israel and its Jews. AHARON GOLDBERG Hatzor Haglilit Excuses, excuses Sir, - I was glad to read your article on the views of Stephan Walt and John Mearsheimer ("US scholars: Israel planned Lebanon war in advance," August 30). I assume that all the mistakes we made were in order to hide the fact of that wholesale pre-planning. I was, however, surprised that the two scholars did not expose the fact that the US planned the war against Japan in advance, using the trivial attack on Pearl Harbor as an excuse. LAWRENCE ISRAEL Rehovot Sir, - To the best of our knowledge Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice are neither Jewish, nor members of any pro-Israel cabal. Like most Americans, they don't have a hard time rooting for Israel against Islamist terrorists and terrorist states. I suspect that if a rogue terrorist group gathered 15,000 rockets on our border with Mexico, the US would find it necessary at some point to eliminate the threat. And it wouldn't take a Jewish cabal to do it. ABE KRIEGER Philadelphia Killing character Sir, - Greer Fay Cashman concludes "The people want a president" (August 30) by saying "Perhaps some new ground rules should be established before the next president is elected." I think the new ground rules should be that no person make verbal or written accusations against an incumbent until the legal system has had its say. These out-of place mutterings can be classified as murder when the character of a man in high office is torn to shreds without him even being indicted. MICHAEL PLASKOW Netanya Our next president Sir, - I don't know who would make the best president, but can I suggest that we have the police investigation before he (or she) is sworn in, and that a deadline be set for anyone who wants to make a complaint against him or her, preferably before the candidate actually becomes president? ("The professor versus the rabbi," August 30). CECILIA HENRY Kfar Bialik Sir, - The person best suited to ensure the dignity, integrity and luster of the office of president is Israel's most recent Nobel laureate in economics, Robert J. (Yisrael) Aumann. Prof. Aumann demonstrated in Oslo that in addition to his considerable intelligence, he can indeed "walk with kings nor lose the common touch." The people of Israel, who have shown and continue to show steadfast courage and discipline in the face of wrenching and dangerous circumstances, deserve no less. MIRIAM L. GAVARIN Jerusalem No hurry-cane Sir, - I agree that it is not a slight if one's national or ethnic group is underrepresented in the names assigned to destructive hurricanes ("Hurricane Terrorist?" Letters, August 29). A few years ago, an article discussing Israel's objection to the inclusion of "Israel" in a list of names to be assigned to future hurricanes included the comment "'Israel' is a good Spanish name," and the retort "So is Jesus." "Israel" was dropped from the list. YONATAN SILVER Jerusalem

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