April 24, 2017: Hunger strikers

Don’t give in to them in the same way that we don’t negotiate with terrorists – hunger strikes will soon become unfashionable.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Hunger strikers
With regard to “Zoabi: Israel will bear ‘total responsibility’ if hunger strikers die” (April 21), the prisoners are lucky to be in an Israeli prison and not in a prison of any one of the Arab countries, including prisons under the control of Hamas or the Palestinian Authority. Had they been found guilty of crimes relating to terrorism, they would have been executed.
Their crimes of terrorism were inspired by a constant barrage of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish propaganda and lies that they have been subjected to since early childhood, warping their understanding and twisting their morality. Having chosen to carry out heinous acts, including murder and attempted murder, how can we expect these people – who have no respect for the lives of others – to have any respect for their own? Going on a hunger strike is tantamount to one announcing that he or she is committing suicide, as death will be the final result for which such people are entirely responsible.
Should these prisoners wish to continue on their suicide quest, they should be allowed the freedom of choice to do so. This would be an indication of the humane attitude of the Israeli authorities.
I see no reason why the government should allow doctors and other medical personal to become involved in conflicts of conscience about whether or not to offer medical assistance to hunger strikers. Don’t give in to them in the same way that we don’t negotiate with terrorists – hunger strikes will soon become unfashionable.
Hod Hasharon
Many countries, including Arab countries, execute murderers, especially terrorists, while Israel imprisons them.
Although it is probably politically incorrect, Israel should announce to the world that if the Palestinian hunger strikers wish to commit suicide, they are at liberty to do so, but it will not accede to their demands.
Tel Aviv
Good for Marwan Barghouti! More power to him! Let’s all pray that he will indeed follow Mahmoud Abbas as leader of the Palestinian Authority. What a beautiful opportunity to show the world that a convicted murderer serving life sentences for killing innocent Jews is the Palestinian people’s choice for their top leadership role. Let the world see what’s really important to the Palestinians.
Just let it not be done at the expense of Israelis. I beg the powers that be to not to cave in to any of the prisoners’ demands. In this way we can begin the process of displaying the futility of hunger strikes.
Turkey’s reply
In “Turkey and Trump’s unpredictability” (Column One, April 21), Caroline B. Glick presents a rather twisted version of Turkey’s modern history and aims to mislead your readers about my country’s unabated struggle against terrorism.
Turkey’s democratic choice, reflected in the referendum held on April 16, was about the system of government, not the type of regime. By taking the meaning of the popular vote to incredible heights, Ms. Glick purports that a resulting enlargement of the prerogatives of the president in a new presidential system (to enter into effect after elections in 2019) has already turned Turkey into a “dictatorship.” This argument is simply wrong.
Ms. Glick’s other makeshift conclusion, that Turkey is a “major state sponsor of terrorism,” is absurd. Turkey has paid the heaviest price in the face of abhorrent terrorist attacks by Islamic State, the PKK and Al-Qaida. Currently, and as in the past, it has been the leading NATO member in the fight against those terrorist organizations. Recalling that Turkey shares a border totaling 1,300 km. with Iraq and Syria should be indicative of both the intensity of the threat and our commitment to fighting it.
Moreover, facing the destruction of a region in turmoil and the unprecedented flow of refugees, Turkey has shouldered alone most of the humanitarian burden for more than six years.
It would have been fair to your readers had Ms. Glick duly corroborated her facts before resorting to unsubstantiated and misleading criticism.
Tel Aviv
The writer is Turkey’s ambassador to Israel.
She was there
With regard to “Stabber kills British student on Jerusalem Light Rail” (April 16), I was just across the aisle from the door and saw what I thought was a man hitting a young woman. I heard yelling from other passengers. Within seconds, three male passengers jumped on the attacker, subdued and disarmed him. That was when I saw the knife.
I looked at the woman. She was standing near the door looking at me. She seemed so calm, but in shock. Other passengers signaled for her to move away from the door and walk toward them, which she did, calmly. As she stood with the other passengers, I felt relief in knowing that she was okay.
I did not want to leave the train right away; I felt as if I needed to stay there to see that the man didn’t hurt anyone else and that the woman was okay. I stayed until security got there. It was only later that I was told she did not survive the attack.
Why am I writing this letter? I want Hannah Bladon’s parents to know that I don’t think she suffered. She was not at any point crying or in pain.
I also want to say thank you to the brave passengers and off-duty policeman who tackled the assailant. Thank you for the quick response by the security guards, police and medical personnel. Thank you to the other passengers who signaled for Hannah to come toward them and for their immediate first-aid attempts.
Whether you are living, visiting or studying in Israel and away from your family, you are never alone because we, the Israeli nation, take care of each other. We have had to learn the hard way, but we know how to step up and help when crises happen.
Beit Shemesh
Rights on the Mount
Prayer on the Temple Mount is a right of all people. The Supreme Court has recognized this, but allowing the Wakf Muslim religious trust to implement a method to prevent Jewish prayer results in harm to individuals.
I am disabled. I have spinal stenosis and a protruding disc, not to mention issues with shoulders and knees, and need to stretch my back because of pain. As I am not allowed to sit down on the Temple Mount, I need to bend forward to relieve pain.
A Wakf employee stopped me, accusing me of praying, and also accusing me of saying words, which is untrue. I was forced to walk off the Temple Mount while constantly being pushed to move faster, which I could not do.
This is clearly discrimination against the handicapped.
This situation, where the Wakf can arbitrarily define truth, your medical status and your speech, and also lie about it, leads to tremendous acrimony.
Jews should have the same rights as every other group in the world to say whatever they want to say on the Temple Mount, and to stretch their bodies without interference, especially when disabled.
In the US Major League Baseball standings reported in the April 23 Sports section, the team leading the National League East is the Washington Nationals, and not as stated.