Sir, – Your incorrectly headlined article “‘UNRWA report on Gaza education false, biased’” contains baseless and misleading allegations.
The report in question is by the UN’s special rapporteur on education, an independent human rights expert, and not, as your headline says, by UNRWA.
Citing COGAT, the article claims Israel heard about UNRWA’s plan to build 100 schools in Gaza from the media; not true. Since we presented our reconstruction plan to the Sharm e-Sheikh Conference in 2009, we have discussed the building of the new schools with COGAT on several occasions.
Notably, we briefed COGAT about the 100 schools at a meeting in June 2010 attended by Maj.-Gen. Dangot and held under the auspices of the UN special coordinator. Following that, UNWRA submitted to COGAT an approval request for an initial 74 schools.
Your article accuses UNRWA of delaying reconstruction; another falsehood. Twenty-four schools have been approved. Work on nine has been contracted and is underway, as it is for approved and funded projects. For the remaining 15 schools, funding negotiations started as soon as they were approved because no donor wanted to fund further schools prior to that. We are now about to finalize funding for most of them.
However, our negotiations with donors are complicated by the fact that there are other projects, especially crucial housing projects, that have been fully funded for years and which have been awaiting approval by the Israeli government. Early approval of these projects would ease the flow of fresh funds and allow people who have been deprived of proper homes for years to rebuild their houses.CHRIS GUNNESS
Jerusalem The writer is spokesman for UNRWA Kudos to Kara
Sir, – Ayoub Kara, deputy minister for the development of the Negev and
Galilee, made public his plea that something positive be done for the
Syrians fleeing Syrian reprisals (“Let Israel send aid to Syrian
refugees, MK Kara tells Erdogan,” June 17).
Kara offered aid from Israel.
He has, moreover, been able to say to the world that he represents a
free and democratic Israel. As a proud representative of the heroic
Druse community, he has made it possible for the world to comprehend
that Israel is in fact made up of people whose hearts are always touched
by the plight of refugees and always seek to help in concrete ways when
there is a disaster anywhere.
Kara should be well-remembered for stating the facts that Israel is a free and democratic country.TOBY WILLIG
Jerusalem Rocks can kill
Sir, – It’s a sad state of affairs when a man is arrested for
defending himself against one who would harm him or take his life (“West
Bank shooter given house arrest,” News in Brief, June 17).
Courts sometimes acknowledge the danger of rock throwing.
For instance, a US judge sentenced a man to 38 years in prison for
throwing rocks at motorists. These projectiles are lethal weapons. As
such, a potential victim must have the legal right to use deadly force
against the threat.
Had this doctrine been employed early in the first intifada, loss of
life and injury could have been prevented. As it is, rock throwers are
almost always guaranteed impunity.BERNARD SMITH
Jerusalem Minor tinkering
Sir, – Regarding “A-G calls Israel Beiteinu bill ‘discriminatory and
humiliating’” (June 17), governments often engage in social engineering,
trying to encourage certain behaviors (like recycling garbage) and
discourage others (like dropping out of school).
The most extreme example in this country is the huge incentives we
provide to the ultra- Orthodox to avoid gainful employment and army
service, and to produce as many children as possible.
Relatively speaking, a civil service preference for veterans seems to be
a small bit of tinkering, so what’s the attorney-general’s problem? NAOMI SANDLER
Jerusalem Needless to say
Sir, – Although it may seem to some that Caroline B. Glick (“A do-or-die
moment,” Column One, June 17), is exaggerating the danger Israel is
under, she is, in fact, underestimating it.
Glick writes: “Dagan failed to note that it would be far more disastrous to allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.”
Exactly! However, saying “All of the lesser threats now gathering from
Egypt, the Palestinian Authority, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey will become
insurmountable if Iran becomes a nuclear power” is redundant.
According to Prof. Bernard Lewis and Reza Kahlili, the doctrine of
mutual assured destruction will not work with Iran, so Iran may well
start a nuclear war undeterred, in which case all the other threats
coming from Egypt, the PA, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey become irrelevant.MLADEN ANDRIJASEVIC
Beersheba Bitter pricing
Sir, – Your editorial “The cottage cheese uprising” (June 16) stated
ironically that Israeli products often sell for less abroad than they do
at home. To prove your point, I can offer one small example: A Pesek
Z’man candy bar in the supermarkets in Jerusalem sells for NIS 4.59, or
about $1.35. The same bar sells for only $1.00 in kosher stores in
Queens, New York, even after transporting that bar 5,600 miles.
Can it be that Israeli consumers of Pesek Z’man are subsidizing consumers in New York? DAVID GLEICHER
Sir, – Since making aliya in 1979, I have always been amazed at the
difference in price of a deodorant stick sold in Israel and the UK.
Deodorant sells in Israel at approximately three times its cost in the
UK. While there are many theories regarding the reasons for this, one
thing is sure: Something stinks! ALAN SHLOMO KOOR
Petah Tikva Bloom no Jew
Sir, – Leopold Bloom (“Bloomsday tour around Dublin celebrates Jewish
protagonist of James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses,’” June 16) is not Jewish. His
father was a Jewish convert to Christianity and his mother was
He himself converted to Christianity.
Of course, Bloom is a fictional character, but since June 16 is observed as “Bloomsday,” he has taken on a certain reality.IDA SELAVAN SCHWARCZ
Ganei Omer Aiming low
Sir, – I was amazed to see that The Jerusalem Post
now prints articles by officials of the Palestinian Authority (“The
real reason for Palestinians’ water crisis,” Comment & Features,
Is it really necessary to publish pieces that deprecate the Israeli
government and people? After all, it is hard enough for us to maintain
our hasbara efforts without giving our enemies the opportunity to speak
badly about us through our own media. It is akin to shooting oneself in
the foot.JUDITH BARNET
Jerusalem A mere foofaraw
Sir, – More than two months ago, MK Danny Danon (Likud) announced that
he would be filing a lawsuit in New York before April 16 against Judge
Richard Goldstone. The action would be based on the UN report on the
Danon also said he would be filing a similar suit in Israel against Goldstone.
Needless to say, Danon’s purported initiative received considerable
attention. Perhaps I have missed reports of the actual filing of these
More likely, the announcement in April was but another of Danon’s
self-aggrandizing, puerile, publicity-seeking foofaraws, full of sound
and fury but signifying absolutely nothing.DANIEL MILLER