April 29: He should know

It is not surprising that Uri Savir equates the needs of both Israelis and Palestinians to embrace each other in order to bring about peace.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Sir, – It is not surprising that Uri Savir equates the needs of both Israelis and Palestinians to embrace each other in order to bring about peace (“Understanding through listening,” Savir’s Corner, April 26). After all, he was Israel’s chief negotiator for the Oslo Accords.
Like so many people whose great efforts have failed, Savir does not seem to recognize the failure of Oslo. No positive effort has been made by the Palestinians to meet with Israel for negotiations without pre-conditions.
He himself even offers the Palestinians a precondition, namely negotiating on the basis of the pre-1967 lines.
His plea to listen to the children and let them lead the way is unbelievable. Has he forgotten that hundreds of Palestinian children have been encouraged to commit suicide while killing as many Israelis – including children – as possible? I particularly contest his statement that children are more open to listening to one another and taking innovative roads to peaceful coexistence.

Kfar Saba

Loosen the bond
Sir, – The April 26 Grapevine feature (“Kosher sake for goodness sake!”) shows a photo of a check for over $1.2 billion being presented by the Israel Bonds Organization.
It should be mentioned that this is not a gift. It is a loan that must be repaid with interest. In addition, there is a well entrenched network of rented offices and salaried employees who annually drain some of that money off the top.
Isn’t about time we disbanded this method of raising funds?

Ganei Omer
Saddam’s stockpiles
Sir, – Caroline B. Glick says “the US failed to find chemical weapons” in Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein (“Time to confront Obama,” Column One, April 26).
I was intimately involved in enforcing the sanctions regime against Iraq. Unquestionably, Saddam attempted to obtain materials that could have been used to advance his program for weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Had sanctions been lifted without proper UN verification and enforcement, there is no doubt he would have reconstituted the program with potentially disastrous results.
In 2003, David Kay, head of the UN’s Iraq Survey Group, reported the discovery of “dozens of WMD-related program activities” hidden from the UN. He later testified that Iraq was attempting to produce deadly ricin “right up to the end.”
Contrary to the generally held belief that no WMDs were found, Kay observed only that Saddam had not produced large-scale stockpiles. There is also anecdotal evidence that he might have moved WMDs to Syria prior to the war.
The tough sanctions regime imposed on Iraq is a perfect example of the futility of sanctions when there is a disconnect between the people’s suffering and their leaders’ religious beliefs or lack of compassion.
With this historical precedent, nobody should believe that the weaker and more porous sanctions now being imposed on Iran will cause that country to terminate its nuclear weapons program anytime soon. (On this point I agree with Glick.) Even a substantially more robust series of sanctions has almost no chance of success at this late date.
Zichron Ya’acov
The writer is a retired US diplomat who was involved in enforcing UN sanctions against both Iraq and Libya, and in implementing the UN’s “oil-for-food” program in Iraq
No to fluoridation
Sir, – I, for one, would like to applaud Health Minister Yael German’s decision to make the fluoridation of water optional (“Hebrew University professors slam change to water fluoridation policy,” April 25).
It is wrong to medicate an entire population for the possible benefit of very few members while putting many others at risk. There are significantly greater risks to dental health from ingesting sugary drinks and refined products, which pull calcium and minerals from teeth and bones. If that problem were addressed, it would go a long way to improving dental and general health nationwide.
Although it may seem that there is unanimous agreement over the safety of water fluoridation in the US, your readers might be surprised to know that tubes of American toothpaste have the following FDA-mandated warnings: “Keep out of the reach of children under six years of age. If more than used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away. Children 2-6 years: Use only a pea-sized amount, and supervise child’s brushing and rinsing (to minimize swallowing).
Children under 2 years: Ask a dentist or physician.”
If it is not safe for children to swallow such a small amount of toothpaste, why is it safe for them to swallow presumably more fluoride from drinking water?
The writer is a blogger on nutrition

 Low road
Sir, – Deputy Finance Minister Mickey Levy calls haredim parasites and then thinks that because he apologizes it is all forgotten and forgiven (“Levy’s haredi ‘parasites’ comment spurs outrage,” April 25). It is not.
I expect children, not mature adults, to talk before they think.
Adults (and I include some of our elected officials in this category) should learn to think before they talk so that they don’t need to apologize afterward.
You are entitled to your beliefs and to make your point. You are not entitled to insult other people.
I am tired of elected officials who, in theory, should be role models yet spew hatred toward one another and toward entire segments of our population.
When will our politicians learn to take the high road instead of stooping to the lowest of all roads? Shame on Mickey Levy.

Historical error
Sir, – The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland informs me that many Polish people have complained about a recent article concerning Auschwitz that was in the online edition of The Jerusalem Post (“German prosecutors investigate Auschwitz cook,” April 25).
It is usually quite well known that Auschwitz was created by Nazi Germany, not by Polish authorities, on occupied Polish territory. Therefore, calling it a “Polish death camp” is a manipulation.
Even “death camp in Poland” is problematic for us, since it creates an impression that the camp might be Polish. Sometimes this terminology appears in the media due to the ignorance of journalists; sometimes it is kind of a shortcut in their way of thinking. Whatever the reasons, it is for us very harmful because it creates an impression that Polish people were not the victims of Auschwitz, but somehow participated in the crime.
As you know, Yad Vashem supported our government some years ago in the mission to change the official name of Auschwitz to “Former German Nazi Concentration Camp.” Last year the White House made an effort to explain to the American public that one cannot say “Polish” concentration or death camp after President Barack Obama made such a mistake in one of his speeches.
We try to fight this historical error all over the world. It appears in Israel from time to time, too. I have dealt with this problem in other Israeli news outlets, but never before in the Post.
I hope you agree that words are highly significant and once something goes public, it may build or damage a lot, especially in a sensitive matter like the history of the Shoah.
Tel Aviv

The writer is first secretary at the Embassy of the Republic of Poland