December 28: How about reciprocity?

The real obstacle to peace is the Arabs’ fear that they will have to take responsibility for themselves once they have their own state.

How about reciprocity?
Sir, – Regarding “Abbas vows: No room for Israelis in Palestinian state” (December 26), I wonder if the Palestinians would remain adamant if we were to demand 100 percent reciprocity by sealing the borders and no longer giving Palestinians access to such services as world-class medical care, including IVF, which they now enjoy in Israel.
The real obstacle to peace is the Arabs’ fear that they will have to take responsibility for themselves once they have their own state.
Sir, – Let’s change the headline to “No room for Palestinians in a Jewish state.” If this were the case, which it is not, and the so-called Palestinians were discriminated against, which they are not, just think of the outrage. Every Arab government, the Arab League, nations across the globe, the US and the EU would condemn Israel, and we would never hear the end of it.
Let’s see if anyone responds to Abbas’s biased pronouncement.
Sir, – Dalia Itzik is right in that Israel must compare costs and benefits before deciding how to heal the rift with Turkey caused by the events on the Mavi Marmara (“The price of an apology,” Comment & Features, December 26). Unfortunately, she focuses primarily on the bilateral relationship. Is the limited benefit from slightly improved relations worth the likely harm to Israel and its supporters worldwide?
An apology would give the lie to Israel’s assertion that its actions were a necessary response to unprovoked attacks by mercenaries bent on martyrdom. No longer would Israel be able to explain any military action as necessary and justifiable self-defense. From now on, the world would see such claims as self-serving and unreliable. By apologizing, the government would abandon the thousands of supporters who relied on Israel’s veracity and defended its actions in the face of withering criticism from around the world. In the future, they could be dismissed as blind apologists for a brutal country.
For years, Israel has criticized the PA and Hamas for providing financial benefits to terrorists’ families. Such payments honor murderers and serve as incentives for others to follow in their footsteps. An “expression of regret” accompanied by payment of “reparations” would be interpreted as an Israeli admission of wrongdoing. They would whitewash the mercenaries’ actions and benefit the families of would-be killers.
Finally, an apology would call into question Israel’s assertion that the Gaza blockade is necessary. More flotillas would set sail in the coming months, and it would be open season on IDF personnel who try to stop them.
EFRAIM A. COHEN Zichron Ya’acov
Sir, – Dalia Itzik once again has it wrong. The flotilla incident was a direct attack against Israel and its soldiers. True, there should be apologies and reparations – but to us, not them. Why should we offer an apology for soldiers who were protecting themselves, and why should we even consider paying reparations?
Sir, – If Israel admits it was wrong, Turkey and others would take this as an admission of guilt. The next step would be to charge soldiers and politicians of war crimes.
A.I. GOLDBERG Hatzor Haglilit
Cause for attention
Sir, – We are stimulating world interest in the Gaza Strip by not completing negotiations to release kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit (“Schalit activists rally in Caesarea,” December 26). This was brought home to us when we realized that our severe and excessive restrictions on imports into Gaza were leading the world to opine that we were imprisoning the whole population.
Releasing another hundred or two hundred dangerous terrorists to Gaza cannot endanger our dayto- day lives, especially as most of us believe that each terrorist killed is replaced quickly by another.
The Jewish people places an unlimited and immeasurable price on saving one Jewish life. Regarding Schalit, something seems to have gone seriously wrong. Also, by saving him, we will be one step closer to diverting world interest and over-involvement with Gaza.
It’s the UN’s job
Sir, – Knowing the history of the Jewish people, my heart went out to the refugees when I read “‘We are here because of the persecution we suffered’” by Ben Hartman (December 26). My question, though, is: Isn’t this one of the main reasons the UN was created?
Instead of wasting its time condemning Israel for every sin under the sun, the UN should be working on a feasible plan to solve the world’s refuge problems. Once a detention center is established in Israel, the responsibility of placing the refuges and caring for them should fall on the world body.
Every free country, based on its physical size and population, including Israel, should be required to absorb refuges, but the absurd notion that Israel has the responsibility to absorb all of the African refugees must be put to sleep.
What is interesting to me is that, with all the talk about Israel being a colonialist and racist country, this is the main destination for most of these refugees.
There is compassion
Sir, – I read with great interest the detailed article on patient compassion (“‘I feel your pain,’” Health, December 26).
Up to now I had never experienced any compassion from caregivers in the medical establishment. But I was recently hospitalized at Assaf Harofeh near Rishon Lezion and had what can only be described as a pleasant experience. As things go, this was heaven.
My past experiences have been nightmarish at best, with understaffing, equipment that doesn’t work, and overcrowded wards, with beds in corridors being the norm. This time around was no trauma, and there was empathy for people who were often in pain and frightened.
Good coverage
Sir, – I am writing concerning The Jerusalem Post’s coverage of the attack on Kay Wilson and the murder of Kristine Luken (“Stabbing, murder likely a terrorist attack, police say,” December 20; “100 gather at memorial service for Kristine Luken, American killed in suspected terrorist attack,” December 24).
As the rector of Christ Church Jerusalem, I had numerous interviews with journalists, both local and abroad. Despite my best attempts to explain the story, it seems that most journalists, in their haste – or ignorance of religious issues – made numerous, often serious, mistakes in their coverage.
By contrast, your reporter, Melanie Lidman, listened carefully and took time to check the facts. She was one of the few journalists to report this horrific story with a natural empathy for the victims, one a Jew, one a Christian, out for a Shabbat hike in the Judean hills.
Drop visa requirement
Sir, – The EU recently announced visa-free treatment for holders of Taiwanese passports to travel to 35 European countries and regions.
I hope that Israel and Taiwan will soon have mutual visa-free treatment, which would increase our hi-tech hardware and software cooperation and promote more tourism to the Holy Land.
Tel Aviv
The writer is director of the Information Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Israel