December 6: It's life in jail, not death

November 7 Its life in

It's life in jail, not death Sir, - While a 15-year prison sentence at the age of 89 will probably mean death in prison, it would amount to life imprisonment - imprisonment for the remainder of one's life - not a "death sentence" ("The Demjanjuk disgrace," December 3). JACK L. YOHAY Mie-ken, Japan Monitoring human rights - for all Sir, - Prof. David Newman, who admitted last week that he had made a "mistake" participating in the BBC documentary on the Israel lobby in the UK, is now worried about NGO monitor ("Who's monitoring the monitor?," December 1). In his op-ed, he tries to convince the reader that the millions of euros spent yearly by EU countries are not meant to be anti-Israeli or even anti-Jewish, but only for the sake of safeguarding "human rights in Israel." Among EU-funded NGOs, he mentions B'Tselem, Adalah, Bimkom and Ir Amim. Could he tell us the last time any of these groups acted to safeguard the human rights of Israeli Jews? B'Tselem provides free cameras to Arabs to record Jewish "provocations"; I would like to know why it does not supply such free cameras to Jews to record Arab provocations if they are supposed to be as even-handed as the EU claims they are. There is no reason to monitor Israeli right-wing NGOs, as the EU would not fund them and they would not concentrate only on Israel-bashing, as is done by all those named - and those unnamed - in his op-ed. Interesting that B'Tselem is at the top of the EU funding list ("NGO report: B'Tselem tops European funding list," December 2), as I assume it costs quite a bit to provide thousands of cameras. EMANUEL FISCHER Jerusalem Efficient against our own... Sir, - How brave, efficient and effective the State of Israel is when waging war against its own people ("Police arrest head of the Beit Arye settlement as residents try to block building inspectors," December 3). What a pity that it cannot be as efficient and effective against its enemies. JACK SHEBSON Jerusalem ...too nice to our enemies? Sir, - Since when should a deportee have a say in where he is sent ("Barghouti is refusing to be deported if released, confidants say," December 3)? That's really some chutzpa! Surely, if the State of Israel wants to send this man far, far away, there can be no refusal on his part. LEONARD ZURAKOV Netanya Who's prime minister here? Sir, - I believe the people of Israel are becoming confused as to who is the prime minister of this country - Binyamin Netanyahu or Ehud Barak ("Barak: Settlement blocs will be an integral part of Israel in any future peace deal," December 3). A defense minister's role is to protect the people of Israel, to make sure that their lives are secure and the dangers are kept to a minimum. However the current defense minister seems to have another mission: to make Jews conform to his way of thinking, a mission he is very adept at carrying out. Perhaps he is trying to expunge his record in the war against Hizbullah in Lebanon. It is obvious that Ehud Barak needs to be concerned with his prime role - to defend the Jewish people in the Land of Israel - and not with playing a star role for the US government and the Europeans. TOBY WILLIG Jerusalem Larry's inconsistency Sir, - Larry Derfner is usually consistent about condemning Israel for defending itself through military operations against terrorists in Gaza, and even condemned Operation Cast Lead, in which about 1,300 Palestinians died - let's ignore how many were terrorists - and a lot of Gaza was razed. He was extremely upset with Israel, claiming excessive use of force for unprovoked attacks, despite the rockets launched into Israel from Gaza over the past eight years. Yet in his latest article, "Welcome, Obama, to the March of Folly" (November 25), he advocates carpet-bombing Afghanistan as a response to 9/11, "killing tens of thousands of people, terrorists and civilians both, to let al-Qaida, the Taliban and everyone in the Islamic world know that there is a terrible price to pay for attacking America and killing 3,000 innocents." Why should the US be allowed to carpet bomb innocents and terrorists in order to make a point, yet Israel can't drop millions of leaflets, make hundreds of thousands of phone calls and SMS warnings to civilians, send soldiers at great peril into Gaza, and kill 1,300 terrorists/civilians in the process - and that number is a minimal loss of life - when Israel's citizens are consistently and directly in harm's way? I'm not saying the guy can't have an opinion, but the total lack of consistency is ridiculous. MATTHEW BERMAN Herzliya By all means - freeze settlement! Sir, - The big news around here lately has been the decision by the Netanyahu government to institute a 10-month freeze of new construction (with some exceptions) in the so-called settlements of Israel. The public debate has ranged from mild to fierce and everything in between. Newspapers, blogs, online news magazines, television - all are debating the issue of this imposed freeze. So, it is time for me to weigh in on such a freeze as well: I am in favor of it. Allow me to explain. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word settlement as "the act or process of settling." Using that definition, I am indeed in favor of a settlement freeze because: • I would like to put a freeze on Israel settling for a government that promises one platform but delivers another. • I would like to put a freeze on settling for rhetoric and pablum-spewing dictators calling for the annihilation of Israel, while the world is silent. • I would like to put a freeze on settling for a United Nations that is obsessed with Israel and its condemnation. • I would like to put a freeze on settling for the world blaming Israel every time something goes wrong. • I would like to put a freeze on settling for boycotts and calls for marginalizing Israel. • I would like to put a freeze on settling for allowing a brand new Arab neighborhood to be built near Ramallah, but not permitting Jews to build in Judea and Samaria. Yes, I definitely support a freeze on settling for such foolishness. ZE'EV M. SHANDALOV Ma'aleh Adumim Go private! Sir, - The article "'Wait for medical specialists is too long'" (December 3) left out an important word: private. Say that word, and you can get an appointment in three to five days. As someone who admires the system here and has used it extensively, I have found that word does wonders. LOUIS SCHAEFFER Jerusalem A room without a view Sir, - Last Saturday night at the Great Synagogue, Jerusalem's Mayor Nir Barkat was in conversation with your editor David Horovitz ("Barkat, vowing to run for one or two more terms, says Intel dispute is now being solved," November 29). The interview was excellent, it went on for over an hour and told us a lot that we needed to know. However it reminded me of the pre-television days when there were "party political broadcasts," with sound, but, of course, no visuals. The same effect was achieved at the meeting, the very large hall being packed, as the two speakers were sitting at a table at floor level and could not be seen, I would estimate, by over 80 percent of those present. I fail to understand why the organizers, with such a good program and with so much experience, should not have taken the trouble to put them on a raised platform so they could have been seen as well as heard. I do hope that on future occasions they make sure to put the icing on the cake. NEVILLE GOLDREIN Jerusalem