February 18: A stitch in time

It would be a wise move by the IDF to begin now, before the next outbreak of violence, to prepare for the inevitable damaging reporting that will ensue.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A stitch in time Sir, - I would like to encourage Col. Moshe Levi of the Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration to pursue the idea of creating an IDF response team to counter and expose the falsehoods perpetuated by our enemies and eagerly disseminated by the media ("Int'l community was duped by Hamas's false civilian death toll figures, IDF claims," February 16). In the aftermath of the Second Lebanon War, we learned that many of the media reports that engendered incredible hostility against us were false and, in some cases, staged for media effect. They may have affected the conduct of the war and they affect our image to this day. It would be a wise move by the IDF to begin now, before the next outbreak of violence, to prepare for the inevitable damaging reporting that will ensue. YORAM GETZLER Moshav Aminadav Counting the killed Sir, - Re "UN moves to determine own Gaza war civilian casualty figures" (February 17): Only when Israel is in armed conflict does the world care to get an exact count of how many Israel killed - never how many Israelis were killed. In the last decade, the US is known to have killed over 100,000 civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Russians have killed thousands of Chechen rebels. The Lebanese have killed hundreds of al-Qaida fighters. We won't even touch on the mass killings in Africa. Yet no one seems to want to know exactly how many, and if these killings were unlawful. EDWARD BENZ New York A neutral fact-finder? Sir, - A group of UK members of parliament is to visit Gaza on a fact-finding mission ("UN launches inquiry into Israeli bombings of its Gaza sites," February 16). Significantly, it will be headed by Richard Burden, Labour member for Birmingham Northfield constituency. Mr. Burden is wholly committed to the Palestinian cause. He heads or participates in any parliamentary or other organization dedicated to criticizing Israel and regularly writes articles highly critical of Israel in the press, rarely if ever attributing blame to Palestinian terrorism. Mr. Burden is more seriously anti-Israel than many of his Islamic associates - which puts a question mark over the objectivity of any report he endorses from Gaza. IVOR LEWIS Netanya/Birmingham The impending prisoner swap Sir, - As the Israeli security cabinet once again agonizes over which murderers to release in exchange for Gilad Schalit, the absolute necessity of introducing the death penalty for mass killers cannot be avoided. These people are beyond reform, and on their release will immediately return to their previous agenda, killing Jews. Why should the IDF risk life and limb to catch these monsters, only to have to repeat their efforts? ("Olmert worried Hamas wants to drag out Schalit talks 'indefinitely,'" February 17.) JUDY PRAGER Petah Tikva Sir, - While I respect those who support the prisoner swap - it is, after all, an emotional issue - I would suggest that they ask themselves if they, personally, are willing to risk death in a terrorist attack planned by Marwan Barghouti after the terror chief and his followers are freed in exchange for Gilad Schalit. Because if past experience with these Palestinian terror chiefs is any indicator, we can start counting our dead within days of their release. KENNETH BESIG Kiryat Arba Sir, - Although our organization is adamantly opposed to the release of Arab terrorist prisoners, if the government is determined to implement this exchange, it must first demand that the Red Cross fulfill its obligation to see if our man is alive and in good mental and physical condition. Under no circumstances should Israel repeat the grievous mistake of the previous exchange in which we gave the enemy live Arab terrorists and received the dead bodies of our martyred soldiers. SHIFRA HOFFMAN, Founder Victims of Arab Terror Intl. Jerusalem Livni's sacrificial hour Sir, - This is what I want to say to Tzipi Livni: If Israel's future is your highest interest - and I believe it is - the need of the hour is that you make a great and painful personal sacrifice. That you give up something you have honestly earned and truly deserve: the right to become prime minister. By forgoing this right you will enable Binyamin Netanyahu to head a centrist block made up of Kadima, the Likud and Labor, a combination of sane parties with the strength and wisdom to face the fateful and probably painful decisions due in the not too distant future. It is not because you are not worthy to lead. It is because you cannot do it alone. It will take Netanyahu, heading the cabinet, to avoid cries of "traitor" again resounding in Israel's streets. The differences between your three parties are not huge. You all essentially want the same thing; but, unfortunately, only one of you can be premier. And it must be Bibi - not because he is better, but because he will not have to face a storm of abuse from his right. Let Lieberman head the opposition; with Netanyahu at the helm, he and his 14 unknown MKs will not be able to divert the ship of state from its course. A few thousand orange ribbons on a few thousand cars - you will be able to deal with that. I believe the people of Israel will have reason to be grateful to you for generations if you make the courageous decision to give up your well-deserved victory ("Netanyahu, Livni seek 'savior' to end coalition crisis," February 16). DAVID RUBINGER Jerusalem WTA's missed opportunity Sir, - "Pe'er 'shocked' after Dubai visa refusal" (February 16) was strikingly reminiscent of what happened to Gretel Bergmann, a German high jumper of Jewish lineage. On June 30, 1936, one month before the Summer Olympics, she tied the German national record by jumping 1.60 meters. Two weeks later she received a letter stating that her performance was not sufficient to compete on the international level, and that she was being removed from the German national team. Bergmann was denied her right to play in a sporting event for which she was obviously overqualified. In Pe'er's case, the Women's Tennis Association had a grand opportunity to make a strong and memorable statement. Unfortunately, it failed mightily. Despite offering his sympathies to Pe'er and her family, WTA chief executive Larry Scott did not choose to cancel the tournament over this gross and blatant discrimination, stating only that the organization would "review appropriate future actions with regard to the future of the Dubai tournament." JOSEPH PINCUS Alon Shvut CORRECTION The UN's report on Gaza casualties, as reported in yesterday's "UN moves to determine own Gaza war civilian casualty figures," began before the IDF showed its information on the Gaza dead to The Jerusalem Post, and is being led by OCHA - the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.