letters to the editor 88.
(photo credit: )
A call to order
Sir, - As Israel attempts to return order to the country, I support your editorial "Siding with the enemy" (July 23), notably where it pointed to the bill that passed its preliminary reading last week, making it illegal for MKs to openly express support for the enemy.
This is routine in other countries - so why not here?
DAVID S. ADDLEMAN
Facts on the ground
Sir, - Air power alone cannot defeat an enemy, but to send in ground troops against an entrenched, well-trained and well-equipped enemy can be costly in terms of casualties ("Thousands of ground troops hit Hizbullah," July 23).
Why did former prime minister Ehud Barak order IDF troops to leave South Lebanon six years ago without ensuring that a non-terrorist military force would replace Israel to prevent Hizbullah terrorists from taking over? And why haven't our leaders prevented the entrenchment of Hizbullah over the past six years?
Military action against a weak Hizbullah would have resulted in a minimum of casualties for Israel. For our army to recapture the territory we hurriedly left on Barak's orders would mean hundreds, if not thousands, of casualties.
If Israel were to accept a cease-fire the terrorists would be given an opportunity to equip themselves with more powerful weapons and long-range missiles courtesy of Iran and Syria.
JOSHUA J. ADLER
Sir, - Civilian casualties are unfortunate, but expected, in all-out war. In both world wars there was an extremely high number of civilian casualties on all sides. Defeating the enemy meant destroying the infrastructure and industrial base as well as inflicting injury on the civilian populations supporting the enemy war machine.
During the Cold War, the theory of assured mutual destruction essentially meant that a nuclear war between the US and USSR would destroy the civilian populations in both countries.
In the War of Independence civilians were targeted by both sides. In the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War Israel was able to immediately destroy the Arabs' ability to target their population centers, while refraining from attacking Arab civilians.
The rejectionist Arab countries, who cannot defeat Israel on the battlefield, created terrorist armies whose primary purpose was to attack Israeli civilians. They disclaim any responsibility for the acts they incite, while demanding that the international community restrain Israel.
Terrorists backed by Iran and Syria have the ability to make Israel bleed whenever it suits their purposes, but Israel is prohibited from eliminating the aggressors.
It is time for the civilized world to recognize that while Israel is currently the primary target of this aggression, the same tactics are spreading around the world like a cancer. In the name of limiting civilian casualties, the international community is nurturing the seeds of its own destruction.
No 'shred' of logic
Sir, - The world is fortunate that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the UN were not around during World War II. Otherwise they would have deplored and condemned the Allied campaign for tearing Germany "to shreds" ("Kofi Annan: Hizbullah is 'deplorable,' but Israel has torn Lebanon 'to shreds'"). Annan would either not have survived, since he was not a member of the Super Race, or he would be speaking German today.
Total defeat of Germany and Japan, despite the loss of innocent civilian life, was what turned these two war-mongering countries into peaceful members of the civilized world. Nothing less than unconditional surrender was acceptable then, and nothing less is acceptable today.
Sir, - Perhaps unarmed UN observers and their families, including Kofi Annan and his family, could station themselves in the frontline Israeli cities of the northern Galilee and along the Gaza Strip? This way, he could judge for himself the effectiveness of the UN efforts in the Middle East, especially such operations such as UNIFIL and UNRWA.
I suggest all peace talks take place at Ground Zero locations in northern Israeli cities such as Haifa or Nahariya.
Same Kofi Annan
Sir, - In the editorial of July 19 ("After UNIFIL") a quote from Kofi Annan with former prime minister Ehud Barak of June 21, 2000, was printed: "I did tell Mr. Nasrallah that Hizbullah exercised restraint, responsibility and discipline after the withdrawal and that we would want to see that continue, and I am sure from the indications that he gave me that he intends to do it."
This is the same Kofi Annan who was ultimately responsible for the oil for food scandal, of which he denied any knowledge, despite the fact that his son was under intense suspicion of involvement. Considering his past history, we think it best that this man be kept out of any involvement where the security of Israel is concerned.
JERRY AND SYLVIA DORTZ
Sir, - I am getting tired of hearing the words, "shame on Israel."
Shame on those who kill children in the name of God. If the IDF were to disarm Hizbullah and Hamas, hostilities would cease that day. If Israel disarmed it would cease to exist.
Culver City, California
Sir, - My elected bellhops in Washington should take note of Israel's zero-tolerance stance when dealing with fanatics.
Rallying for Israel
Sir, - There are Jewish populations throughout the USA and their rallies are just as important as those that took place in New York and Los Angeles ("NY Jews rally in support of Israel," July 18). In the smaller cities and towns, especially in mid-America, Christians are huge supporters of Israel. From my community of approximately 50,000, we held a rally of over 20,000 Jews and Christians.
Sir, - As a moderate Lebanese who has always engaged in dialogue and fought for peace, today is a sad day ("Thousands of ground troops hit Hizbullah," July 23). Innocent people are dying each day in both countries, and Israel's actions in Lebanon are merely strengthening the extremist camp.
I hope Israel will pressure the world to help rebuild my country.
Israel should go after Damascus and Teheran - not Beirut.
Let's pray for peace.
Sir, - We in the USA are getting mixed messages about the situation in the Middle East. Beirut was once called the "Paris of the Middle East." Surely it could be again if the moderates stood up and said their piece. It is time to enter the new millennium.
Kannapolis, North Carolina
Sir, - Col. Miri Eisen has done a brilliant job of presenting Israel's point of view in the past few years ("Israel calls up media 'reserves' to get its message to the world," July 17). On a recent appearance on CNN she was bright, knowledgeable, photogenic and focused the conversation on the points she needed to make . She also put the conflict, to the Western world, into an "us versus them" perspective. For too long, the IDF and the Foreign Ministry have presented spokespersons in uniform whose only English word is "ehhh."
Kol hakavod to whoever made her a spokesperson.
Nazareth to Netanya
Sir, - While I do feel for the people of Nazareth who have no bomb shelters ("2 children killed as rockets hit Nazareth," July 20), I must point out that I live in Netanya in an apartment block with no bomb shelter, no secure room and no public bomb shelter within one minute's distance from my apartment.
So far Mr. Nasrallah's rockets have not landed in Netanya, but does anyone know that they won't?
Sir, - Daniel Doron has got it right ("How not to develop the Negev," July 20). The politicians, bureaucrats, planners and local spokespersons, who have cooked up endless schemes to develop the Negev, have demonstrated time and again that they have no idea what they are doing.
None of their fantasies demonstrate even minimal appreciation of the nature of our region and its problems, nor the complexity of what is required to overcome them. They offer silly gimmicks and slogans and repeat failed policies instead of undertaking serious analysis and strategic planning. They have learned nothing from their past failures, and perpetuate a culture of dependency. They are not serious.
Meanwhile, the Beduin situation continues to deteriorate, the demographic base of the region is being hollowed out and industrial backwardness has grown. I wish I could be as optimistic as Mr. Doron about the JNF's new initiative - past experience is not encouraging. Perhaps if their planning process is opened to public comment and professional evaluation, we might be pleasantly surprised - if not by their ideas about development, at least by the fresh air of transparency, community involvement and accountability.
Sir, - While the gay community complains about anti-gay posters around Jerusalem ("'We want to reclaim religion and Jerusalem.' World Pride parade organizers remain steadfast despite opposition," July 13), I am surprised that there has been no coverage of the recent outbreak of pro-gay graffiti near Rehov Ben-Yehuda. Splattered in rainbow and pink colors, the graffiti shows that supporters of parade are hellbent on imposing their will on the city of Jerusalem.