Sir, – Regarding “Rep. Frank to ‘Post’: Free Pollard to push
peace” (December 23), there is a voice that has yet to be heard regarding
Jonathan Pollard’s release. That voice belongs to President Shimon Peres, who
has great international standing. It would be very helpful to the cause if he
were to send a public message aimed at US President Barack Obama.
president to another, it would be highly appropriate to express the feelings
that exist in the hearts and minds of the people of Israel – feelings that
should find a resounding echo.
President Peres is the proper person to
make the plea for Pollard, as he represents the collective nonpolitical will of
the people.TOBY WILLIG
Sir, – Jonathan Pollard was given his
unusually harsh sentence because of a request by then-secretary of defense
Caspar Weinberger, who accused Pollard of having transmitted vital secrets to
the USSR. The accusation was later proved wrong.
Spies who transferred
secret information to America’s enemies have received much lighter
Weinberger had a visceral hatred for Israel. He is long gone,
but the harm he did lives on.ELIEZER WHARTMAN
Jerusalem Did not, did
Sir, – The item headlined “PA, Hamas warn Israel against response to firing
of rockets” (December 23) really epitomizes the absolute chutzpah of the
Palestinian Arabs in this war of attrition. According to PA President Mahmoud
Abbas – our “oh so moderate peace partner” – any new Israeli aggression would
endanger the peace process. What cheek! Do the Arabs really expect us to just
take whatever they throw at us and sit meekly with our hands folded, waiting for
the next catastrophe? What we should be doing is destroying all the tunnels we
know about in one fell swoop, not one or two every few days. We also need to
target more infrastructure without issuing warnings beforehand.
headline could have instead read “They hit me back first,” a longtime children’s
playground excuse.JUDY PRAGER
Petah Tikva Feed the kids
Sir, – In
“Growing numbers of kids forgo meals because of economic hardship, study shows”
(December 22), Ruth Eglash reports that, based on data collected by 100 food aid
charities, some 467,000 children in Israel forgo a nutritious meal every day. In
addition, poor children are forced to steal or pick up food from the
This is not only unacceptable, but shocking. One must ask why this
story was placed on Page 6 and not on Page 1? Certainly, this is far more
important than improvements in the immigration service! And where is the
media/public outcry for an investigation? Can we possibly allow children to go
hungry while we spend billions elsewhere? Is everything a matter of political
convenience and coalition considerations? The distance between a hungry child
and a violent adult is very short.MATTIAS ROTENBERG
Petah Tikva Secular
Sir, – Your article “Ministerial panel votes to fund archeological
sites in the West Bank and Golan Heights” (December 22) mentions the term “West
Bank” no fewer than five times.
The funds to preserve the sites are to be
managed by the National Heritage Plan. Aren’t these heritage sites located,
according to history, in Judea and Samaria? There was no “West Bank” at the time
these sites were established.
Why the constant mention of a term
initiated by secularists? It’s time that the world gets used to the correct
terminology for this precious and tradition-laden part of Israel.URI
Netanya Safe – and smart
Sir, – While “Avi Cohen’s critical motorcycle
injury might have been avoided with a legal helmet” (December 22) was positive
in emphasizing the need for “integral” helmets, as required by law, your
reporter does not address a more fundamental issue: the reckless abandon of the
vast majority of motorcycle riders.
Whether squeezing between cars,
riding around cars via a median, riding on sidewalks or a whole series of other
maneuvers, it is appalling the way they constantly endanger other vehicles.
While wearing the proper helmet will indeed save lives, I submit that proper
riding will also reduce the levels of stress and tension on the
road.ZE’EV M. SHANDALOV
Ma’aleh Adumim Singing praise
Sir, – It was
indeed a pleasure to read the op-ed by Saul Singer (“Who’s being obstinate?,”
Comment & Features, December 22).
His clear elucidation of the
reasons for the failure of American peace efforts should be addressed by
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others, and they should realize the need
to stop displaying their so-called even-handedness.
Singer’s excellent articles for a long time, perhaps we can look forward to
reading them again on a regular basis?
MONTY M. ZION
Tel Mond HRW and water
– Human Rights Watch recently published a detailed report showing that Israel’s
treatment of Palestinians in Area C of the West Bank and east Jerusalem, where
Israel exercises total control over everything from the issuance of building
permits to access to water, was systematically discriminatory in comparison with
Israel’s treatment of neighboring settlers. Your December 21 editorial (“HRW
critique that doesn’t hold water”) argued that the report was misguided because
Palestinians in the West Bank are receiving more Israeli water than ever
That claim is both misleading and beside the point.
Discrimination can never be justified, even if the quality of life is improving,
and for many Palestinians it is not.
While Israeli settlements boast
swimming pools and fountains, the UN estimates that up to 60,000 Palestinians
living under full Israeli control lack access to running water and must pay up
to onesixth of their income to buy water.
According to the World Bank,
Israel’s over-extraction of water has dried up Palestinian wells, which produce
less water now than at the time of the Oslo Accords, while Israeli military
orders prohibit Palestinians from drilling new ones.
buy increasing quantities of water from Israel – much of which originates in the
The World Bank found that the water supply for Palestinians
who are connected to the water system is “variable and discontinuous,” and of
worsening quality; a quarter of the Palestinians with water connections receive
less than 50 liters per day, and increasing numbers suffer from water-borne
In Area C, Israel routinely refuses to allow Palestinians to
repair wells or even fix leaking water pipes.
Readily granting such
permission would be good for both Palestinians and Israelis. It is in no one’s
interest to let 34 percent of the water flowing through these pipes go to
Your editorial also evaded the question of discrimination by
contending that Palestinians in Area C have better access to fresh water than
citizens of neighboring countries.
In fact, the World Bank report you
cited found that Jordanians, Lebanese and Syrians have access to more fresh
water per capita than do Palestinians. In any event, such an argument reads as
if one were to have tried to justify Jim Crow discrimination against blacks in
the southern United States by claiming that African-Americans were better off
than blacks in Africa.BILL VAN ESVELD
The writer is a
researcher for Human Rights Watch’s Middle East/North Africa division