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The way it works
Sir, - The price of peace? What we have to ask Assad about is the price of aggression and enmity. So long as we're 25 miles from Damascus, we're relatively safe. That's the way "peace" works in this area of the world ("Assad: The price of peace is lower than cost of war," July 18).
Monologue for two
Sir, - In a July 17 letter, Dan Vogl explained the difference between "monologue" and "dialogue." However, as relates to our government, there was a better definition in a skit I saw entitled "The English Lesson," where an Arab professor defined "monologue" as one person talking to himself, and "dialogue" as "two people talking to themselves."
In his discussions with Mahmoud Abbas, Olmert fantasizes that if we forgo our effective tactics of targeting known terrorists and withholding funds to be used for armament, the PA will prefer its long-hated enemy, Israel, as an ally over its brethren in Gaza.
Sir, - Following world outrage, Farfour, a Mickey Mouse lookalike that preached murder on Hamas children's TV, was pulled (or rather, "martyred by the Israelis"). Now he has been replaced by Nahool, a giant bee preaching murder ("Jihad Bee replaces Hamas mouse," July 18).
If only this murderous menagerie could be replaced by a Bob the Builder lookalike who tells his creators to build homes for their people instead of a massive terror infrastructure; or a Cookie Monster lookalike who advocates feeding people instead of using their food money to produce Kassam rockets.
Sir, - It's hard to believe that an entity would hijack the innocent creatures of a small child's fantasy world and harness them to pure evil. Hamas does that, and yet there are Western voices advising dialogue with it.
Sir, - Shimon Peres has made at least three terrible mistakes, to which he has never admitted:
1. He gave Menachem Begin a dreadful time when he opposed his decision to destroy the Iraqi nuclear reactor. Today we cannot imagine what would have happened had Peres prevailed.
2. When Yasser Arafat was thrown out of Lebanon and went to Tunis, Peres persuaded Yitzhak Rabin to bring him back to become leader of the PLO. They supplied him with arms, which were used against Israel. How many Jewish souls have been killed because of these actions?
3. The Oslo Accord; we all know what a disaster that was!
Nobody can say that Peres has not done great things for Israel - but because of his misjudgment I cannot join in the celebrations.
Sir, - Time and time again it is said that Israel was founded on the ashes of the Holocaust. So it is hard for me to comprehend the government's attitude toward the few remaining survivors. I would like to suggest that there is no better way for our new president to make an immediate impact than by putting his weight and the prestige of his office behind such a worthy cause ("Don't abandon Israel's Holocaust survivors," Uzi Dayan, July 18).
Sir, - I recently made my first trip to Israel, not only as a tourist but also as a volunteer on an archeological dig with the University of Tel Aviv at the Tel Bet Yerach site. What a great experience! Israel's historical roots are deep, and you, as a nation, are fortunate to posses a multitude of archeologically unique and diverse sites, beneficial to both research and tourism.
I contrast your wealth in these sites with our lack here in America, and yet we face some of the same issues (dwindling green space). Should we preserve and protect these special areas, or allow development and perhaps increase the tax base and government revenue?
Unfortunately, once a piece of land is sold and developed, it is gone forever for public use. In the case of archeologically significant areas the loss is twofold: public access and the priceless historical-educational benefits.
It is my hope that the people of Israel will recognize the value of protecting these archeologically rich areas today, and so reap the benefits in the future ("Jerusalem to declare massive 'green area,'" July 18).
City of Southgate, Michigan
When prayer isn't enough
Sir, - I feel extremely sad about the murder of Dror Sheck and have the deepest sympathy for his family. However, I do get angry when I hear about how everybody is at fault, but never the backpackers themselves.
Every year youngsters leave to all places in the world and, although warned, think "it won't happen to them." They visit dangerous areas where they shouldn't be, dangerous roads where people get killed constantly, they want to do it all, they take the risks, and the ones left behind can only pray and hope for the best ("Vigil in India over murdered Israeli backpacker," July 17).
A statement by Arkadi Gaydamak
Arkadi Gaydamak's office states in reference to information published by Yediot Aharonot and The Jerusalem Post during the past few days: Arkadi Gaydamak, taking full responsibility for his words, declares that he has never committed any offense against any law or regulation in any country, particularly France.
In the middle of 1990s, while Gaydamak was living in France, he acceded to a request from the highest French authority, in particular an appeal by the minister of state and minister of interior affairs, Charles Pasqua, and planned, organized and successfully saw through four different rescue operations. Their objective was to release and bring back to France all nine French citizens held hostage in Yugoslavia, Central Asia and North Caucasus, of which six were French army officers.
It is well known that Mr. Pasqua was a political rival of ex-president Chirac. The Chirac administration from the end of the 1990s initiated many political maneuvers with one goal in mind: the destabilization of minister Pasqua by damaging his political image, thus preventing him from participating in the 2002 French presidential elections. One of the main tactics was to conjure up the "Gaydamak Affair" in which the secret services fabricated a completely false and delusional accusation against Gaydamak. Thus the so-called "Arms-dealing affair in Africa" was born. This fabricated story tried to show a link between Gaydamak and minister Pasqua.
All the actions of the Chirac administration against Gaydamak in France began in 1995. To date, no proof evidencing any wrongdoing by Gaydamak has been submitted. Gaydamak has never faced trial in France or elsewhere.
For the past 15 years, many dishonest journalists, politicians, business rivals and extortionists have exploited this situation in favor of their own egotistical interests.
All the information published in Yediot Aharonot and The Jerusalem Post during the past several days is a complete lie.
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