Laughable comments Josef Federman’s comments are laughable (“AP bureau chief: Criticism of foreign press verges on incitement,” February 22).The foreign press can incite all it likes, tell half-truths and twist stories to suit its own ends. Most of what happens to Israeli people doesn’t even make it into the foreign press. News is not reported any more, only opinion.When the truth is leveled at you, sir, you don’t like it.DENISE DUVAL Jerusalem Before the fact The article “Zionist Union bill aims to shut down Haifa ammonia plant, move other factories” (February 22) is yet another indication of how lax and disconnected our government leaders are to what is happening in Israel today.It takes a Hezbollah terrorist to light a fire under those who are supposed to be protecting us.This happens time and again.From underground tunnels to price gouging, neither Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor most (if not all) of our “elected” officials actually do anything until the terror is right at our doorstep or inside our homes.Is it so hard to think that terrorists – who abound around us – would commit terrorist acts? Why are we just now rearranging our forces to try to combat something that two intifadas should have taught us to do? I think it’s time to find leaders who can lead before the fact, not after.YAACOV PETERSEILJerusalem Images of smoking After chemotherapy treatment, while sitting in the hospital pickup area to wait for my ride, I was exposed to smoke from the smoking section, which was close by, and to smoke from people lighting up as soon as they exited the hospital.As I wait for buses or the Light Rail, I am frequently bothered by someone smoking on the bench beside me, often a teenager.When I politely make a comment, the person ignores me or moves just outside the shelter and continues to blow smoke at the rest of us.It is beyond belief that 77 other countries require graphic images of dirty lungs, blackened teeth and emaciated lung cancer patients, while Israel doesn’t (“Graphic images on cigarette packs curbs smoking, finds brain study,” February 22). Young smokers who view graphic anti-smoking images on cigarette packs are more likely to kick the habit than those who read verbal warnings.Not only is the law against smoking in public areas flouted, but our Health Ministry has for years eschewed graphic images on cigarette packs. According to the health minister, they are unpleasant to look at it. How dare the ministry continue contributing to the country’s dangerous smoking habit! RIVKA ZAHAVY Jerusalem Eisenkot’s utterancesRuthie Blum’s “Eisenkot’s shameful implications” (Right from Wrong, February 22) is harshly critical of remarks made by IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen.Gadi Eisenkott, in which he implied that a soldier who kills his teenage attacker is somehow cowardly and abusive by shooting the attacker too many times.For decades, the upper levels of the IDF have suffered a potentially lethal political correctness that condemns Israeli Jews who successfully fend off Palestinian attackers with firearms when their attackers have “only” a knife or scissors. It’s as if saving one’s life is a cowardly act! The only cowards are those who incite, encourage, support, praise or otherwise justify these ugly attacks.Lt.-Gen. Eisenkott and those who back him up should seriously reconsider their responses to these events, and should praise and support Israeli citizens who face a war of annihilation yet remain restrained and humane in the face of Palestinian child terror.KENNETH BESIG Kiryat Arba Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot’s statement that a soldier “should not open fire and empty his magazine” at a girl holding a scissors or knife if there is some distance between them is a straw man that gives ammunition to Israel’s enemies, who accuse the IDF of overreacting.When has a soldier “emptied his magazine” and not merely neutralized the attacker? It was a gratuitous comment.Eisenkot is a father of five. I am sure he would feel that if one of them were to be threatened by a 13-year-old knife-wielding killer, he would urge that this killer be stopped by any means.FRED EHRMAN New York I was rather taken aback by Ruthie Blum’s attack on the IDF chief of staff. Disproportionate use of force is immoral, illegal and eschewed by the IDF code of ethics, as expounded in its rules of conduct. Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot is obliged to uphold these principles; to do otherwise would make him unworthy of his rank or any other rank in the IDF.It is reassuring that the prime minister and defense minister came to Eisenkot’s defense, and shameful to hear journalists attacking him – almost as shameful as the appalling video that appeared to show a security guard repeatedly shooting at a teenage terrorist who had already been neutralized.JONATHAN MARDERRehovot Context required Your article “Palestinian territories rank as third-lowest nation in children’s access to justice,” which appeared online on February 17, singles out Palestine’s ranking and gives little attention to the reasons it was ranked so low.On February 15, Child Rights International Network (CRIN) published its global report on access to justice for children, ranking every state in the world on how easily and effectively children can enforce their rights using the law. Most coverage of the report focused on the rankings and left out context. The most notable example was with Palestine, which was placed 195 out of 197 states.The way countries were ranked was based on how they met international standards on access to justice for children. The countries that scored worst fell into two broad categories: those with authoritarian laws that do not allow for children’s rights to be enforced through the legal system, and those that have poorly developed justice systems. Palestine fell into the latter category.The majority of international standards, including those on which this ranking was based, place the heaviest burden on governments. Palestine was unique within our ranking as it was the only occupied territory, and the effects of the occupation undeniably dragged Palestine down in the rankings.When a state is occupied, the government does not have full control over its territory or legal system and, in certain circumstances, is unable to exercise the jurisdiction necessary to meet international standards. The division between Israeli military jurisdiction and that of the Palestinian Authority had a negative effect, because many of the legal mechanisms within Palestine are not actually within the jurisdiction of the Palestinian justice system.Military court decisions are appealed through the Israeli system, ultimately to the Supreme Court. As a result, the remedies for any rights violations perpetrated under the jurisdiction of the military courts are not within the Palestinian justice system.The scoring does not place the blame on the Palestinian justice system for this feature, but it does recognize it as a factor that severely hampers access to justice for children in the West Bank, and a factor that had to be considered within the scoring.We strongly encourage your readers to explore the information more in depth through the detailed country reports at http://www.crin.org/ node/42362.VERONICA YATES London The writer is director of CRIN.