August 29: Syrian crisis

The violence in Syria, which has dominated media headlines for so long, poses many problems.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Syrian crisis
Sir, – The violence in Syria, which has dominated media headlines for so long, poses many problems.
Is America satisfied that the irrefutable evidence it has about the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime (“Kerry: It is undeniable Assad used chemical weapons on massive scale,” August 27) is more reliable than the irrefutable evidence it had about Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction? It would need to be.
I suggest that instead of taking any immediate steps to punish Assad, maybe the US, Britain, France and their allies would be better advised to mass a multi-national force in the Mediterranean and around Syria, and tell its leader that any future chemical attacks will result in immediate reprisals. At the same time, the Security Council must get Russia on board to ensure that UN inspectors are given immediate access to the sites in question within 24 hours. Could Russia oppose such a request and retain international respect and credibility? If, on the other hand, UN inspectors were to find it was rebel forces that used chemicals weapons – a real possibility, considering that al-Qaida is involved – then what, if any, reprisals would be implemented? Maybe the withdrawal of support for the rebels would deter them from using such weapons.
BERNIE COWEN Rishon Lezion
Sir, – The Arabs are masters of propaganda and faked photography, and are aided and abetted by unscrupulous journalists wishing to make a name for themselves.
Can we believe the photographs we are seeing of a gas attack? We all know that Assad is capable of atrocities, but both sides are blaming the other.
The willingly gullible Western governments, with their fake concerns for human rights, do not seem to know what to do after making ponderous pronouncements that get them deeper into the morass.
Sir, – Regarding “On Syria, West reaches ‘event horizon’” (Analysis, August 27), I really do not understand British Prime Minister David Cameron, who has been quoted as saying that the killing of people by chemical means is “unacceptable.”
Does he mean that the more-than 100,000 deaths by other means are acceptable?
Sir, – Thanks are due Ariel Ben Solomon for presenting Russia’s options in response a Western attack on its ally (“Expert: USled attack on Syria may lead to increased Russian cooperation with Iran,” August 27).
Russian President Vladimir Putin most likely sees the anticipated US-led attack not just as punishment for Assad’s use of chemical weapons, but as a move against his ambitions in the eastern Mediterranean at the geopolitical underbelly of Turkey and eastern Europe.
The experts quoted in the article are quite right in that, one way or another, Russia will react. Their consensus is that an active Russian military role is unlikely. They could have added that this is true for a very simple reason: Putin’s Russia is in an almost no-lose situation! Whatever happens in Syria’s civil war, the Assad regime will remain, whether by reconquering the entire country or by establishing its own de facto state in the Alawite homeland along the coast and in the mountains between Lebanon and Turkey. This would allow Assad to protect his own people, as well as their beleaguered Christian allies, against probable Sunni mass murder.
Together with an Alawite state under the Assad clan go strategic port facilities – to Russia’s benefit, not to mention Iran’s. Putin is most likely gambling that these, along with increased military ties to Teheran, Hezbollah and a rump Shia Iraq, would warrant increased Sunni wrath.
Majority preference
Sir, – With regard to “Plans for egalitarian section for Kotel likely to leave Women of the Wall unhappy” (August 26), it pays to set aside the gender issue.
In any Jewish locale of prayer, be it Orthodox, Reform, Conservative or egalitarian, the central place of worship is the bima, with its table, the Torah, the reader and assistants. The established procedure in the women’s section at the Kotel is that there is not a bima or Torah scroll. It is each woman with her Siddur, privately praying.
The ambition of the members of Women of the Wall (WoW) is that they will lead the service. If this were not so, WoW would not be so resistant to being in the back or on the side or at Robinson’s Arch.
WoW is determined to lead as though it is an unassailable right. Obsessions are notoriously difficult to shake, but does that give its members the right to overrule majority preference?
Seeking recognition
Sir, – Kudos to The Jerusalem Post, especially Judy Siegel- Itzkovich, for the consistent and unsurpassed effort to see nurse practitioners (NPs) recognized in Israel (“The nurse practitioner is in,” Health, August 25).
On another positive note, we have a professional organization of NPs that has been meeting monthly. It is called the Association of Mid-Level Providers in Israel (AMPI). Among us are nurse anesthetists, family nurse practitioners, women’s health nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants.
Unfortunately, olim who have umpteen years of experience are still not given permission by the Health Ministry to practice.
Nor are we appreciated for our many years of clinical experience.
Though NPs are recognized in 22 countries, we still cannot work in Israel.
To our newest associates, good luck and welcome to the profession! We look forward to you joining us so we can work together toward full recognition to provide optimum patient care and promote the health of Israel’s citizens.CARYN ANDREWS Jerusalem The writer is a US-certified nurse practitioner and president of AMPI
Unsung hero
Sir, – Your editorial “Wings of the Dove” (August 25) evoked feelings of nostalgia for an unsung hero, Dr. Graenum Berger. How ironic it is that today his name is hardly known, even to the myriads of Ethiopians he saved.
Dr. Berger first met a small group of Ethiopian Jews in Israel in 1955. He listened attentively to their desperate plea on behalf of their povertystricken and starving Jewish brethren suffering discrimination in Ethiopia. This was the seminal event that inspired him to champion their cause.
In 1965 he created the American Association for Ethiopian Jews (AAEJ) to bring pressure on world Jewry and Israel to save these Jews from extinction.
With hardly more than a cadre of dedicated people, he shook the Jewish establishment to action. Through its tireless efforts, Operation Moses (1984) and Operation Solomon (1991) came to fruition.
Having accomplished the mission of liberating Beta Israel, the AAEJ “closed shop” in 1993, and despite the lack of organization and infrastructure in Israel, it challenged Israeli social activists to carry the ball to the goal of full Ethiopian integration.
It is truly instructive and inspirational how a small group of dedicated people was able to achieve this Herculean task. What a tribute to a Jew who had a dream that was realized in his lifetime.
Our challenge today is to dedicate our efforts to bring these dedicated, happy, beautiful and bright people to their fullest potential.
ROBERT DUBLIN Jerusalem The writer is a former board member of AAEJ