Sir, – With regard to “EU team due in Israel to work on settlement guidelines” (September 8), where is the European Union, which constantly views any Israeli political activity under a microscope, when it comes to the persecution and injustices faced by Christian communities in this region? Does it talk to Christian leadership? Please refresh my memory in case I have missed any position papers. Or would the EU claim not to have any responsibility in this regard?
SHEBA F. SKIRBALL
Sir, – The European Union’s decision to send a team to Israel to work on “settlement guidelines” is laughable, hypocritical and self-damning.
With its pro-active meddling in Israeli affairs on the one hand, and its dragged-out, drugged and apathetic response to Spain’s current rampage on its frontier with Gibraltar on the other, what hopes are there for an EU foreign policy based on morality, coherence and logic? None! EU foreign affairs head Catherine Ashton is as transparently hypocritical as she is immeasurably unastonishing.
LEVI J. ATTIAS Gibraltar Wake-up call
Sir, – The riots instigated on the Temple Mount by radical Islamists (“Palestinians attack Jews, police with rocks at Temple Mount before and during Rosh Hashana,” September 8) is a wake-up call as to what would happen if Jerusalem were stupidly to be divided and the Temple Mount given over to the Palestinians.
It is apparent that the Wakf Muslim religious trust, instead of behaving responsibly, is supportive of rioting against Jews for the flimsiest of reasons. Any intelligent person knows that Israel is not going to harm any Muslim religious site, and certainly is not going to build another temple until the Messiah comes.
It is time for the authorities to institute times for Jews and other non-Muslims who wish to go to the Temple Mount for visits or prayers in a manner similar to that at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, the burial place of the Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their wives. Holiness has been ascribed to both these places by Muslims only comparatively recently. However, they have been holy to Jews for some 3,500 years.
It is about time we stood up for our rights instead of cowering, as the rest of the world does to Muslim threats and bullying.
CYRIL ATKINS Beit Shemesh C-section stress
Sir, – Referring to “Women should be calmed before C-sections to avoid drop in blood pressure” (Health Scan, September 8), it is obvious that women undergoing a Cesarean birth are under extreme stress. Whether it is elective and they have time to prepare, or an emergency, in which case the mother and infant could be in danger, this is not the birth they were expecting.
Standard childbirth education courses in most public institutions do not focus sufficiently on unexpected birth outcomes.
But pregnant women and their partners do have access to better quality private courses, such as those run by counsellors trained by recognized childbirth organizations, where time is always given to preparing clients for the possibility of Cesarean birth as well as other interventions.
Stress and Cesarean birth was the subject of the doctorate of psychologist Tsippi Tadmor, who several years ago worked with the staff at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa. Through her research and field work, hospital management agreed to allow partners to attend elective Cesareans after being sufficiently prepared. At that time I was running the first couples’ courses there, and as far as I know Rambam was the first hospital to admit fathers into the operating room.
The program was so successful that the possibility of partners attending elective Cesarean births exists in most, if not all, Israeli hospitals today, and has been found to significantly reduce stress for the woman giving birth.
WENDY BLUMFIELD Haifa
The writer is a childbirth educator and breastfeeding counselor
Where it hurts
Sir, – I found Liat Collins’s compilation of cliches and what they truly mean (“Defining experience,” My Word, September 8) fascinating and spot on in its accuracy.
Might I submit a further example: When Israeli politicians talk about probably needing in the future to make “painful” decisions, what they really mean is painful for the settlers.
RHONA YEMINI Givatayim
Sir, – The letter from reader Raphael Raymond Bar-On (“Some ‘strategy,’ September 4), who is “shamed” by the failure of the British House of Commons to endorse military action against the Assad regime, is symptomatic of the irrational Western reaction to Assad’s use of force to stay in power.
The use of military force by the United Kingdom has proven time and again to have imposed a cost in lives and financial burden that has not been balanced by success.
The notion of deciding that it is not legitimate to kill or injure people with chemical weapons while sitting on the sidelines booing the use of conventional weapons is for me sufficient reason to oppose participation in military action.
One should have learned a lesson from the Israeli incursions into Lebanon that military force has repeatedly failed to resolve political conflicts and has never justified the loss of lives incurred, just as the British learned with Iraq and Afghanistan.
Were Barack Obama and John Kerry not representing a country that has profited financially from armed conflict, lied about Iraq, singularly failed in Afghanistan and sat on the sidelines during the use of conventional weapons in Syria, perhaps British parliamentarians might have been persuaded that participation was justified.
It is the United States that has lost international credibility.
The British public is right to oppose endorsing American stupidities.
ALAN FINLAY Jerusalem
Sir, – In an unpublished letter I sent the Post after Barack Obama’s election in November 2008, I pointed out that his “Yes, we can!” meant only “Yes, we can get elected.”
Obama’s naive voters are discovering now that when it comes to conducting the presidency, it’s mostly “No, I can’t.”
In short, I told you so.
BRUM BERKOVITS Haifa Too much to bear
Sir, – Regarding Alan Baker’s “Frustration and disgust” (Comment & Features, September 3), I couldn’t agree more. The hypocrisy of the United Nations, its Human Rights Council (an oxymoron if there ever was one), the European Union and other bodies has become too much to bear in recent years.
In an imperfect world only one country is constantly singled out for excoriation: Israel.
Dare we call it as it is? Anti- Semitism, pure and simple. The real question is what are we prepared to do about it?
BRUCE WEINSTEIN Netanya A valiant Chamberlain
Sir, – Stephen Gabriel Rosenberg (“Peace in our time, or peace with honor,” Comment & Features, September 3) castigates Neville Chamberlain for the “notorious Munich Agreement with Hitler” while omitting the perfidious French involvement.
I recall that it was Chamberlain who issued Britain’s declaration of war at 11:00 a.m. on September 3, 1939, while his French allies dragged their feet until 5 p.m. Let us also recall that Chamberlain’s valiant action was enacted in the absence of American accord.
KARL HUTTENBAUER Berlin