December 31: Prisoner release

"Peri has apparently forgotten the numerous public legal agreements that Israel entered into with the PLO and Palestinian Authority."

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Prisoner releaseSir - In “Ministers approve list of 26 Palestinian prisoners to be freed before Kerry’s arrival” (December 29), you quote Yaakov Peri as saying of the prisoners: “It was not easy to get them into jail or to prove that they had killed. I know each one of them. But a democratic state that has signed on an agreement has to honor it. It is hard, it is tragic, it is painful and it raises questions that I myself do not even know how to answer.”
This beggars belief. What a pitiful statement from a cabinet minister and former Shin Bet head.
Peri has apparently forgotten the numerous public legal agreements that Israel entered into with the PLO and Palestinian Authority – including the infamous Oslo Accords – that were subsequently dishonored by them in both word and deed on every possible occasion.
Israel no longer has any binding legal reason to honor such agreements. It is time our government showed some backbone and stood up to the demands of the US. If it fails to do so it is initiating a self-destruct mode.ELIEZER KAUFMAN Jerusalem
Sir, – It is unimaginable that the Israeli leadership has no way of telling the world about the fact that an agreement is a twoway street.
Israel has remained silent about what the Palestinians have done to make a working and living arrangement untenable.
Why can’t our leadership understand at this point in the negotiating process that it is time to say no to acts of terrorism, rocket launchings, the kidnapping of soldiers, and civilians being maimed or killed by rock throwing? These acts have to stop. They will stop only if Israel refuses to continue negotiating as if Israeli lives have not been abandoned.
US Secretary of State John Kerry must hear this message very strongly. The message is that Israel stands by its people.THELMA SUSSWEIN Jerusalem
Sir, – With regard to “Israel scheduled to release 26 convicted terrorists next week as planned” (December 25), Tourism Minister Uzi Landau, described as being from the “right flank of Likud Beytenu,” says commitments need to be fulfilled. “In principle,” you quote him as saying, “if we already made the basic mistake of freeing terrorists, I do not suggest that we get into the area of not abiding by agreements we took upon ourselves.”
It should be asked why that “basic mistake” was made. No other country in the world would do this or be expected to.
Perhaps that should tell us what US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry really think of us.
Landau admits that the Palestinians are not upholding their part of the deal, just as they have never done in any agreement, but apparently the sense in Jerusalem is that not abiding by the deal would cause Israel considerable negative diplomatic fallout.
The Palestinians don’t worry about negative diplomatic fallout. Why should they? It is obvious to them that America is in charge and that Israel is afraid to assert its independence.PHYLLIS STERN Netanya
Sir, – Coming from a family of victims of terror, and as an Israeli citizen, I am heartbroken and appalled. So many of the murderers of our loved ones have been released. And for what? Remember the horrific photo of the murderer of our soldiers in Ramallah as he proudly held up his bloodied hands after he butchered them? During the last release he was let out to go back to one of the villages near my community. Each time I pass by I want to scream.
It is our government here that is irresponsible. Instead of protecting the lives and welfare of Israeli citizens, or in fact of anyone here, it is running ahead to do just the opposite and encourage murder and bloodshed.
Our government, with the encouragement of the US, is stomping on the blood of our loved ones, who were murdered only because they were Jewish. It is strengthening the resolve and determination of the murderers and those to come. What do they have to lose? They are feted as heroes for butchering us. God save us.
Beit Horon The writer lost two cousins in a 2003 terror attack in Kiryat Arba
Sir, – In “Report: Kerry wants release of prisoners – and Pollard – in March” (December 29), you mention that Jonathan Pollard wrote, in an August opinion piece for the Post: “Israel is still the only country in the world ever to violate its own system of justice by repeatedly releasing dangerous, unrepentant murders and terrorists back into the civilian population with impunity. Israel has the dubious distinction of being the only country in the world so befuddled by moral ambiguity that it is willing to dishonor its dead, betray its bereaved and disgrace its citizens for the sake of political expediency.”
If it is possible to make the release of terrorists any more disgraceful, it is the fact that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu actually caved in to US Secretary of State John Kerry’s demands to enable that terrorist in a suit, Mahmoud Abbas, to magnanimously enter into negotiations that in the end will hand over to his terrorist organization large parts of Jewish land.
10 commandments
Sir, – With regard to “Welcome to Israel!” (Editorial, December 29), yes, “Israel has gained a reputation for helping other countries in time of need....”
We are proud of ourselves as Israelis. We help each other in times of small and big needs, in our daily routines at home, on the roads and also in times of stress and emergency. The latest example was during the recent snow storm.
But your “10 commandments of everyday etiquette” are addressed to us adults. The only time you mention children is in commandment 8, where you write: “Children should show respect to their elders.” The opposite also true. So let us be (more) respectful, polite, courteous, patient, kind, nice, gentle, etc. to our children. They are people, albeit little people, and they will learn from us.
We enjoy reading your editorials. They give us a feeling of shared values, like friends do for one another.
Sir, – Please delegate someone to translate “Welcome to Israel!” into Hebrew, and insist it get printed in all the national newspapers.
Bureaucracy ‘virus’
Sir, – Bureaucracy in Israel has reached a point where it is a danger to life and limb. What follows is a case in point.
There is a dangerous corner on a road I frequently use. I asked a local official to have “vibration lines” etched along the white dividing line in the middle of the road to dissuade drivers from crossing it. His reply: I would need to obtain so many permits that I’m not even going to try! Since this scenario is no doubt repeated all over Israel, there must be many steps that could be taken to reduce traffic accidents that are not taken because of daunting bureaucracy.
Perhaps a national bureaucracy monitoring authority could be set up, with powers to streamline procedures. It should not be part of a ministry since all ministries are infected with the bureaucracy virus at birth.
Financing could be obtained by reducing the salaries and benefits given to Knesset members by the same percentage as that applied recently to child allowances.