letters good 88.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Sir, - Re "Deal for Gilad Schalit 'all but finished,'"(March 8), which reported that "an agreement has been reached with Hamas over the number of prisoners Israel will release in return for" the kidnapped soldier:
On March 2, 2002, at 4:20 p.m., Muhammad Hasheikah, a 22-year-old Palestinian policeman, blew himself up on King George St. in downtown Jerusalem, murdering three people, including a young father and his pregnant wife. Two screws passed through my arm; our son had a piece of shrapnel pass fully through the right side of his brain.
In September 2002 the IDF military prosecutor presented indictments against the terrorists who carried out "our" bombing. One of the planners had met with Marwan Barghouti the day before the bombing and received $600 for the attack.
Barghouti's support for our attack stands in stark contrast to the bold statesman, charismatic leader and man of peace described by journalists and politicians. The details in Barghouti's own indictment suggest a quite different person - a terror leader who personally organized, supported, financed and encouraged attacks that left scores of civilians dead and injured.
Barghouti has not shown the slightest inkling of change; he still states that terror attacks are a legitimate means of achieving political goals. The highly-ballyhooed "Prisoners Document" he was instrumental in formulating contains no recognition of Israel's right to exist, and attacks on civilians are considered a holy obligation.
Today Barghouti sits in an Israeli jail for five counts of murder. His popularity rests on his continued support for terror attacks against Israeli civilians. Releasing him will not bring peace but turn the clock back to the day of speaking nicely to the West while organizing the Palestinian masses to hate and kill.
the Home Front
Sir, - With all due respect to Prof. Hayim Granot's suggestion to "Start all over with Home Front" and establish a civilian command (March 7): I believe we should stick with the Home Front Command. Why?
â€¢ It is already in place, with a chain of command, trained personnel, a training system and established resources of equipment and materiel. If improvement is required, it will have a solid foundation on which to work.
â€¢ In cases of emergency it can be used to immediately call up the required personnel (allowing the use of retrained non-combat reservists who do almost no reserve duty and assuaging the bad feelings of combat soldiers who alone carry the load today).
â€¢ Very important: It will avoid establishing another money-swallowing, inefficient government organization, with all the guaranteed political infighting. As for Granot's fears of "dictatorial powers in times of emergency" - when haven't we been in such a situation?
The last paragraph is the prime justification for my objections: There is no money! And "creative leadership" is scarcer than an honest Israeli politician.
Out to lunch
Sir, - Kudos on your editorial "Preventable tragedies" (March 7). Lack of police professionalism is an epidemic.
Recently at a major police station - in Kfar Saba - around noon, there was no one on the front desk and main floor. They were all having lunch. When a policeman was finally found and asked about this state of affairs, he arrogantly responded: File a complaint!" Not only is this kind of thing a disservice to the public, it is also a serious security risk.
On another occasion at another station (Ra'anana), the only policeman present was "busy" reading an invitation while the front desk clerk was involved in a long personal phone call, completely indifferent to those who were waiting. In many stations loud talking, bad manners, disinterest and incompetence are the rule.
I suggest that readers collect documented complaints for presentation to Minister Avi Dichter. In the meantime, investigators should be regularly sent out, unannounced, to check on police performance. Rather than hiring more men, police effectiveness would be increased by firing the incompetent and rewarding professionalism.
Minister Dichter should himself be shown the door if he does not quickly correct this scandalous and dangerous situation.
Doesn't grab me
Sir, - I am disturbed by the IDF's PR campaign. Recently we saw soldiers doing battle on simulators. Then there was the night firing of Arrow missiles. After that the alpine unit on Mt. Hermon (Photo, February 16).
This campaign is meant to make us regain confidence in the IDF. It does not work for me.
Quietly restocking supplies, training soldiers and reserves and sending officers on courses would be a slower, but more useful process.
For a flawed democracy
Sir, - "AACI endorses reform calling for regional elections" (March 8) quoted its executive director as stating: "Many North Americans feel the need for regional representation. Everyone feels uncomfortable with the current system of government. We need more accountability." I couldn't agree more: MKs elected by region would indeed be more accountable to their constituents than under the present system.
But another factor lurks in the background: In 1948 a large number of politicians were also in favor of representation based on regional elections. David Ben-Gurion, while a believer in democracy, correctly understood that such a system would allow for a far greater number of Arab MKs than most Jews would have felt comfortable with. The same holds true today.
Better a "flawed" democracy which helps guarantee Jewish rule in a Jewish state than a higher degree of democracy which might one day sow the seeds of its own demise.
It's not funny
Sir, - In "Procedural safeguards" (March 8) Yosef Lapid writes that "we are facing a state of confusion that awakens doubts regarding the quality of our government" and refers to the contretemps between the attorney-general and the state comptroller. But this "confusion" has long existed. Day after day we get the ongoing drama of corruption and criminal activity in every branch of government.
Most of us are sick to death of these weak and corrupt politicians, who are even made fun of in Jay Leno's comedy hour. The problem is - it isn't funny!
'Shut up while I interrupt!'
Sir, - I must vent my frustration at TV hosts who invite personalities onto their shows, then make it almost impossible for them to speak, constantly interrupting with "throw-ins" that often have nothing to do with the question. They are rude, boisterous and often bullying, making it hard for the guest to reply intelligently and the audience to understand.
One such host recently got his comeuppance when he tangled with a former Supreme Court judge, who wouldn't tolerate his rudeness and gave even better than he got, making the host stop and listen.
Am I the only one bothered by this offensive behavior?