letters good 88.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Peace is a two-way street
Sir, - Re "Egypt's greatest fear: New Israeli immigrants" (June 1) Tovah Lazaroff's visit to Cairo confirmed that Egypt has little interest in a warm peace with Israel.
Israel is constantly vilified in the Egyptian media. Egypt openly sides with the Palestinians, including Hamas, and never misses the opportunity to criticize Israel in the UN and other international organizations. It actively discourages Arab and Muslim countries from establishing and deepening relationships with Israel.
Israel needs, as your June 4 editorial "Pressure Egypt now" recommends, to respond in kind and take a much tougher line with our southern neighbor. Egypt should not be included in discussions with the Palestinians until it acts as an honest broker. Our politicians should refuse to visit Egypt without reciprocal visits from Egyptian dignitaries.
Finally, Israel should vociferously condemn hostile statements by the Egyptian government or state-controlled media. It's high time for us to act with dignity and self-respect.
Israel has proven it is willing to make great sacrifices for peace, but true peace is a two-way street.
Sir, - I was appalled to read what the Olmert government is considering ("Olmert weighs transferring tax funds to Abbas," June 4). This government has its head in the sand, pulling it out occasionally to build collapsible, ephemeral and delusional structures.
Israel must take the tax money it has collected and use it to repair the damage Arabs have done to the citizens of Israel. We should also shut off water and electricity and not allow any Palestinian workers into Israel until and unless the rockets stop.
Why on earth would Olmert give more money to terrorists - to buy more weapons?
Sir, - "We'll see (how much) they ask for," a senior Israeli official is quoted as saying. But what are we asking for?
Before the Palestinians get another shekel we should demand that they return our kidnaped soldier and compensate us for the damage done to Sderot and the neighboring communities by their incessant bombing. Can they bring back the innocent Jewish civilians murdered without rhyme or reason?
We are at war with these people. Their economic and humanitarian condition must take second place to our lives.
Sir, - Caroline B. Glick's "As Europe self-destructs" (June 1) evoked sympathetic recall. To her, the call for a boycott of Israeli universities and colleges by Britain's University and College Union is hypocritical.
Remember Somerset Maugham's definition of hypocrisy in Cakes and Ale? Hypocrisy is the most difficult and nerve-racking vice that any man can pursue: it needs an unceasing vigilance and a rare detachment of spirit.
What better way to describe academic virtues? Of course, were Maugham around now, he would have included women in his definition - not only because it is PC, but because women make up a sizable proportion of the UCU's membership.
If Ms. Glick's column could reach that membership with Maugham's apt aphorism added, it might be just the kind of hasbara Israel needs.
H. DAVID KIRK
Brentwood Bay, BC, Canada
Sir, - David Horovitz is to be congratulated on getting to the heart of the boycott Israel bandwagon gathering pace in Britain and other parts of Europe ("The campaign to delegitimize Israel," June 3). He correctly does not use the phrase anti-Semitism, a charge easily denied, but instead goes to the heart of the boycott campaign strategy, which is to deny Israel's right to exist.
Horovitz's piece should be disseminated worldwide, and the Israeli government must work tirelessly with its friends in Britain and elsewhere to expose the real purposes of the anti-Israel boycott campaign, which has its origins in the notorious UN Durban Conference on Anti-Semitism in 2001.
PROF. LESLIE WAGNER
Death by negligence
Sir, - The publicity surrounding the jail terms handed down to four delinquent engineers is designed to lull the public into believing that the "bad apples" have been picked out and put away, and now all is well ("Prison terms handed down in deadly 2001 Versailles banquet hall collapse," June 1). Nothing could be further from the truth.
The reason the disaster occurred in the first place was the lack of serious governmental regulation of the entire building field. The blue-ribbon Zeiler Commission examined the rot in the local building process and general disarray in the construction industry. It recommended a full overhaul of the system, including the development of a single, modern building code, as is common in all developed countries, plan review, professional building inspection of both new construction and existing buildings, and serious contractor licensing and oversight. While the commission's report was praised, the ministries of Interior and Housing have done nothing to implement its recommendations.
The stubborn refusal of government ministers to protect the public when they know the situation and have been told how to fix the problem will lead to the next tragedy.
IRA BRAVERMAN, P.E.
Registered Civil Engineer & Consultant to the Zeiler Commission
Sir, - Six years ago the floor of the Versailles Hall in Jerusalem collapsed during a wedding, plunging 23 people to their deaths and injuring 356. The engineer who invented the faulty Pal-Kal construction technique used in the hall was sentenced to four years in prison last week.
Shimon Peres was the chief engineer of the Oslo Accords, finalized in August 1993. Their design has contributed to the placement of weapons in the hands of Arab terrorists responsible for murdering over 2,000 Israelis and injuring tens of thousands.
The Jerusalem court convicted the Pal-Kal developer and three other engineers for causing death by negligence. "They could have and should have foreseen the possibility of potential hazards... including the option of causing death by building without conforming to standards."
Peres ignored all warnings of the potential hazards of the Oslo Accords, including that of likely deaths, and did not conform to standards that would protect the citizens of Israel.
The Pal-Kal engineer is up for jail. Shimon Peres is up for the presidency. The people of Sderot are in fear of their lives.
YISRAEL MEIR BURAK
'Take the pills and hope for the best'
Sir, - I am not surprised that hardly anyone reads the medical blurbs inside packages of prescribed or over-the-counter medicine. Read several at once and you will discover they all say the same thing: Take only as the doctor ordered and keep in a cool place; side effects range from elevated blood pressure to dizziness, vomiting etc.; discontinue should these occur.
Omitted is when to take the medication and what foods to avoid when on certain kinds of pills. Anxiety from reading is a non-issue unless people are misinformed from the beginning, or not told anything at all. Knowledge on how medicine should be used is not widespread here.
Bottom line, doctors and pharmacists don't tell you much, and the package blurbs say even less. Until this changes no one will read them with any informed concern ("Medicine leaflets make you sick with worry? Health Ministry prescribes new wording," June 4).
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