February 17: ‘Water libel’

When aware of the facts, the reaction in the Knesset to Mr. Schulz’s speech is more understandable.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Hypocrisy club
Sir, – The news item “Denmark outlaws Jewish and Muslim ritual slaughter as of next week” (February 14) reveals the epitome of disgusting hypocrisy there, as well as in Poland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland, the other countries already banning shechita (ritual slaughter).
Iceland, Norway and Sweden have a culture of harpooning whales and clubbing baby seals to death. Poland has a thriving tourist industry promoting the hunting of deer, roebuck and wild boar. Swiss farmers have been accused of maltreating cattle, while dog and cat consumption is not unusual in some rural areas, where the poor animals are clubbed to death.
In Denmark, the method of corralling dolphins and pilot whales into shallow waters and then brutally slaughtering most (with some being selected for marine parks) distinctly causes these highly intelligent animals to suffer intolerable pain and dire stress.
Denmark thus has joined the club of extreme hypocrisy.
Sir, – The Danes have banned shechita for a concocted reason best known to themselves but continue to farm and slaughter mink (at the rate of an eye-watering 65,000,000 animals last year and a predicted 81,000,000 this year, merely for fashion. This is hypocrisy on an industrial level.
‘Water libel’
Sir, – When reading “Water concerns” (Editorial, February 14), it appears to me that The Jerusalem Post has compounded the same error that European Parliament President Martin Schulz did when he addressed the Knesset last week. Detailed facts regarding this issue could have been found in the pamphlet “The Israeli-Palestinian Water Conflict: An Israeli Perspective,” written by Prof.
Haim Gvirtzman of Hebrew University and published by the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Research at Bar-Ilan University.
Quoting from the conclusion of the study, “Israel has not only fulfilled all of its obligations stemming from the 1995 Interim Agreement signed with the PA but has met all water commitments requisite of a permanent status agreement as well. As a result, there is almost no difference today in the per capita consumption of natural water between Israelis and Palestinians. The large difference that existed in 1967, when the administration of Judea and Samaria was handed over from Jordan to Israel, has been reduced over the last 40 years and is now negligible.... However, while Israel has ensured that nearly all Palestinian villages and towns are connected to running water, the Palestinians have violated their part of the agreement by refusing to build sewage treatment plants (despite available international financing). Moreover, the Palestinians have drilled hundreds of unlicensed wells and set up unauthorized connections to Israeli water supply pipelines.”
When aware of the facts, the reaction in the Knesset to Mr. Schulz’s speech is more understandable.
The MKs were reacting to a “water libel.”
Sir, – Your editorial took its “facts” from Friends of the Earth, a liberal Israeli-Jordanian organization, and B’Tselem, one of Israel’s most pro-Palestinian, liberal-Left groups. Why wasn’t our own Water Authority the source for facts about these policies? The Jerusalem Post should know better than to blame Israel for the obstinacy, ill will and bad faith of the Palestinian Authority. We have many successful water initiatives with Jordan, an unfriendly country that nevertheless has found a way to cooperate with its much more advanced neighbor.
Alfei Menashe
Sir, – The impolite reactions to European Parliament President Martin Schulz’s Knesset speech deflect us from the possibility that we could have reacted positively, transforming a problem into an opportunity.
Immediately following the speech, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu should have shaken Schulz’s hand heartily, taken the podium and said: “Thank you so much for your warm comments about us. In particular, I want to stress your referring to the allegation by youth in Ramallah that the Palestinians are allowed less than one quarter of the water allowed to Israelis – which is very much at variance with statistics by the water authorities of both Israel and the Palestinians.
Actually, I appreciate your citing that charge because it is a vivid example of the falsehoods and incitement against Israel that the Palestinian Authority spreads throughout the world, as well as to its own hapless people.”
Half the story
Sir, – Barry Leff (“Provocation is in the eye of the beholder,” Observations, February 14) is right – the news in Israel often has an Alice in Wonderland aura. Many times, however, this is simply because only half of the facts are reported.
This is, unfortunately, the case regarding Sheikh Jarrah.
Shortly after the War of Independence, Palestinians moved into Jewish homes there. They were not recognized as owners.
Instead, the Jordanian authorities regarded them as tenants, collecting rent from them until the Six Day War.
After the war, Israel allowed the residents to continue their occupation as long as they paid rent.
Unfortunately, after some years the residents were persuaded to cease. Once this happened, the original Jewish owners were able to legally reclaim their property.
As a consequence, the Palestinians were evicted.
It is clear that although the Palestinians have been ill-used, their eviction was correct, legal and proper. If Leff wishes to raise a finger against anyone, it should be against those activists who persuaded them to stop paying their rent.
Mazkeret Batya
Sir, – Barry Leff, a former chairman of Rabbis for Human Rights, attacked Israeli housing policy in Jerusalem. Although in the middle of the article he quoted the old adage “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” he did not display the same balance.
Leff writes about the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheik Jarrah: “From 1948 to 1967, it was part of Jordan.” That was only because Jordan launched an invasion across the river. Its claim to the West Bank was recognized only by Pakistan and Britain, and perhaps by Rabbis for Human Rights.
Surely, Israel now has equal legitimacy, even if based only on that criteria. (And that is without many other legal and historical claims.)
No thanks
Sir, – With regard to “Spain offers citizenship to expelled Jews’ descendants” (February 9), I, a proud Sephardi Jew (and one who would qualify for the special offer), view the recent overture by Spain (and also Portugal) with more than a little cynicism.
Why, perchance, is this historic turnaround now happening? Might it have anything to do with – dare I say it – money? Could Israel’s demonstrated economic success, contrasted with the lethargy of the Spanish economy, possibly be a factor here? Could this be a nicely dressed-up way of pulling in revenue from people who, after all, control the world and are all rich? It is hard to avoid the conclusion that our once-upon-a-time hosts have seen the opportunity to help themselves by dangling a fairly meaningless carrot in front of Jews.
Gentlemen, there is enormous water under the bridge of our once-shared history. Your offer is unseemly, insincere and about 500 years too late in coming.
Gracias, pero lo gracias. Thanks, but no thanks.
Rosh Pina
CORRECTION The reader’s letter “Honoring the vets” (February 14) incorrectly presented the number of Jews who served as US or Soviet soldiers during World War II. It should have been “over a million,” and not as stated.
APOLOGY Due to a technical error, the listings in Capital Calendar in the February 14 In Jerusalem supplement were incorrect. We apologize for the error.