letters to the editor 88.
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Here's the deal
Sir, - Re "Dichter draws fire for backing release of prisoners to free Shalit" (July 9): Here's the deal - Israel, quietly through a mediator, offers to release prisoners of Gaza origin at a rate of five per month of no Kassams or any other terror coming out of the Gaza Strip.
If there are 500 such, it will take eight years to release them.
Shalit is protected by international law
Sir, - International law expert Yuval Shani states that IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit "is not a prisoner of war and is therefore not entitled to the full protection that international law affords POWs" ("HU law expert: Gilad Shalit not entitled to Geneva Convention conditions for POWs," July 6).
Mr. Shani seems to be ignoring the fact that the Palestinian Authority is an internationally recognized national political entity established by international treaty - the Oslo Accords. The PA assumed the responsibility to abide by internationally recognized human rights standards, as agreed in the Israeli Palestinian interim agreement of September 28 1995.
Human Rights Watch, an NGO, doesn't gloss over Palestinian commitments (and complicity), or hide behind the PA's non-state status, but has the courage to say: "Although it is not a sovereign state, the Palestinian Authority has explicit security and legal obligations set out in the Oslo Accords, an umbrella term for the series of agreements negotiated between the government of Israel and the PLO from 1993 to 1996."
IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit comes under the protection of recognized international law, including all human rights accorded to prisoners of war.
ELI E. HERTZ
Myths and Facts, Inc.
Sir, - To Cpl. Shalit's parents and siblings: Your beloved Gilad is constantly in my thoughts and prayers. I dare not even imagine what you must be going through, but I pray God gives you the strength you need and the final joyous reunion with your son and brother.
You and all Israel are not forgotten by many of us here in the US.
Good night, Mr. Bassi
Sir, - Re "Bassi disengages" (July 6): The impression I received from Yonatan Bassi was that his handling of the disengagement was successful despite his difficulties in dealing with the politically naive settlers.
The resettling of the Gush Katif settlers was and continues to be a tremendous failure. The communities are, to a large extent, scattered. People are mostly unemployed or earning much less than they did before. Outside of a smattering of farmers, most have not been taken care of. There has been no solution for people who were well-established and are now too advanced in age to invest again in businesses that were destroyed.
So goodnight and sleep well, Mr. Bassi.
Aliya - quick march!
Sir, - Kol hakavod to Michael Freund for "Let my people come" (July 5) on the bureaucratically induced plight of the Bnei Menashe converts. It is a travesty to delay the aliya of these people who are so committed to the State of Israel and its citizens.
From many years of personal knowledge of and teaching the Bnei Menashe who have come here we have learned how well these people can integrate into all segments of Israeli society.
The aliya of those 218 Bnei Menashe converts and their remaining brothers and sisters must go forward!
CHANA RUBIN &
When an institution can't be avoided...
Sir, - Frimet Roth is a powerful advocate for retaining the handicapped within family and community, but her one-sided approach paid scant attention to factors requiring the specialist institution, which is sometimes, by necessity, situated far from family and community ("Institutionalization - even in a 'village' - isn't the answer," June 29).
Aging parents is possibly the most common factor driving the need for a caring, sheltered environment other than the patient's home. Parents in their 30s and 40s need to face the very few choices open to them as they and their special child grow older.
Ms. Roth also has little to say about the range of handicaps, the most severe of which need access to specialist skills and equipment not to be found in the home.
The dream of "mainstreaming" all sufferers will necessarily not apply to the whole spectrum of the handicapped, their disabilities, their needs and their families' resources. Israel does provide for this range of complex caring requirements, and Aleh Negev is one example of the approach of an enlightened and caring society.
...why I stand by what I wrote
Sir, - Reader Ella Seltzer ("In praise of Aleh," Letters, July 6) presumed that my referring to Aleh as an institution, which any dictionary will confirm it is, proves I never set foot in it. In fact I have visited twice and spoken to parents whose children live there. My impressions from both remained vivid and disturbing while I wrote my article about the institutionalization of people with disabilities. Nevertheless, I did not accuse the founders, promoters or beneficiaries of the services of Aleh institutions of any malice or ill-will.
What I pointed out was that the rest of the Western world, and parts of Israel, realized decades ago that home-care or, where that is impractical or unavailable, small, community-based facilities are the best solutions for all people with disabilities. Even those affected severely, for whom reader Dorothy Smith expressed concern in the same letters column, can be cared for in such settings. My own daughter and her schoolmates are deemed "profoundly" disabled, even worse than severe, so I speak from experience.
Any facility, even one offering hospital care, can be situated within the community and need not be isolated from the rest of society.
I realize that much of the above is still unknown to many of the devoted, concerned and well-intentioned individuals who support and promote Aleh, which is precisely why I felt compelled to write what I did.
Sir, - Avigdor Klagsbald had notched up 21 driving offenses since 1971. Why wasn't his license suspended, or revoked, after five, 10, 15 or 20 offenses? He could have been ordered to attend driving school.
Why did the police have to wait until two people died? ("Top lawyer indicted for fatal traffic accident," July 7).
Sir, - "Rendering Hebrew into English" (June 27) was certainly timely - not only for tourists but also for millions of information seekers worldwide. A standardized system of transliteration is long overdue, if only to remove such absurdities as Dawid, Zefat and Kirja.
Prof. Ornan Uzzi's concern lies elsewhere. He advocates adding a dot or a line below, or a "v" above, certain letters in the English transliteration to facilitate recognition of the original Hebrew letter. But his suggestion for "making it simple" seems to ignore the fact that English doesn't have signs above or below letters, and English speakers will not be able to relate to them.
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