January 28: Consistency's the thing

Once a policy has been decided upon, the government cannot stay the course for more than a day.

letters 88 NICE (photo credit: )
letters 88 NICE
(photo credit: )
Consistency's the thing Sir, - There are many reasons why one could criticize the Olmert government over its handling of the rockets being fired into our country from Gaza, a situation that has continued without effective response for far too long. Targeting individual terrorists is good, but evidently insufficient; firing artillery shells into empty fields also did not suffice. Allowing the citizens of Sderot to be left unprotected against the onslaught is disgraceful, and allowing conscripts to sleep in unprotected tents within range of the rockets was criminal. But most disconcertingly, once a policy has been decided upon, the government, principally the PM and defense minister, cannot stay the course for more than a day. They cut off oil supplies to Gaza, but never thought Hamas would use that as an effective PR tool by turning off all the power, including to hospitals, in Gaza City, even though they have plenty of electricity being supplied from the Israeli national grid. Now the government is resupplying Gaza because of world pressure and its own incompetence ("Israel restoring Gaza fuel supply," On-Line Edition, January 27). This government's handling of the situation has been unconscionable. There is no reason why we should supply our enemies, why we should be concerned about their humanitarian needs when they are not concerned about ours. I believe the majority of Israelis want drastic action against Gaza, such as cutting off all supplies, including electricity. JACK COHEN Netanya Sir, - I guess with the millions and millions of dollars that European Union member countries have given to the Palestinian Authority, the Gaza population must have assumed that the money comes attached with a similar open-border policy ("Gazan masses foil attempt to seal off Rafah border," January 27). SETH CLYMAN Jerusalem Ehud and Mahmoudmeet for coffee Sir, - The headline "Abbas, Olmert to meet Sunday, focus on Gaza instability" (January 27) might as well have read "Abbas, Olmert to meet Sunday in a complete waste of time." They must be getting together so that Mahmoud Abbas can enjoy the air of Jerusalem and the food and drink at the prime minister's table as something of a compensation for his total military and political defeat in Gaza, since when he has not dared set foot there. So these two men will drink tea or cola and ponder what can be done to save them both from what is surely due to happen - the disavowal of both in any future plan for the Middle East. TOBY WILLIG Jerusalem 'I, myself... Sir, - In Britain, Peter Hain resigns his post as minister after the Electoral Commission referred to the police his failure to disclose donations to his bid to become deputy labor leader ("UK minister Hain quit in funding case," January 25). Compare this to the behavior of our "stay-at-all-costs" premier. It appears as though integrity and honor are characteristics of politicians only in other countries. Here, it is a case of "I, myself and me," with the interests of the country a long way behind ("A week before Winograd, Olmert says he has nothing to apologize for," January 24). MAURICE STEINHART Jerusalem ...and me' Sir, - Israel isn't really a democracy but a disfunctional political system run by political parties by and for themselves. Its basic problem becomes obvious when we have a worst-case scenario - as at present - where the PM lacks any sense of responsibility or shame. The system provides no legitimate way to remove such a person, since with no principle to worry about other than staying in office, he can always find a sufficient number of other political hacks to buy off with an ever-increasing number of ministries - which squander taxpayers' money and, with their confusing and overlapping jurisdictions, make it impossible to govern the country under the best of circumstances ("Olmert's guide to faction stability: Keep 'em happy," Gil Hoffman, January 22). NAOMI SANDLER Jerusalem Unreal at Oxford Sir, - It is time the leaders of the Oxford University Union joined the real world and stopped hosting people who support the concept of terrorism and Holocaust denial, as they have in recent weeks. Surely saying that the Palestinians have the moral right to use terrorism - as philosophy professor Ted Honderich reportedly did last week - is tantamount to incitement to violence. Well done to those students who had the moral courage to vote in support of Israel; also against a student union motion at the London School of Economics to boycott Israel. Hopefully those who supported a boycott don't use computers, mobile phones, voicemail and many technologically innovative aids that owe their existence to Israeli research and development. Nor should they use the British Library cataloguing system - as that is Israeli too! ("Israel's 'right to exist' conceded in Oxford Union debate," January 27.) JOY WOLFE Cheadle, Cheshire, UK Sir, - Lewis Turner, opposing the motion "This House believes that the State of Israel has a right to exist," stated: "If Israel is supposed to be a safe haven for Jewish people it is not working out because it is one of the most dangerous places for them to live." I would answer this so-called intellectual by saying that Anglos who now live in Israel say they would not go back to England because Israel is safer. MICHAEL PLASKOW Netanya Find out aboutWallenberg's fate Sir, - The German government is the only government in the world which has officially declared that Raoul Wallenberg - who saved countless lives during World War II and disappeared into Russian captivity in January of 1945 - is "considered as dead." Other governments consider Wallenberg's case open, pending authoritative confirmation regarding his fate. Whereas the General Assembly of the UN designated January 27 as Holocaust Remembrance Day; and whereas Raoul Wallenberg is a champion of human rights, the only person to have been named an honorary citizen of the United States, Canada and Israel; and whereas the facts regarding Wallenberg's fate have never been clarified; we of the Raoul Wallenberg Honorary Citizen Committee and other interested parties ask that Germany explain its decision to consider Wallenberg dead. And we call upon all nations to intensify their efforts to obtain information about Wallenberg from any of their citizens in order to shed light on his whereabouts. MAX GRUNBERG Ra'anana Music to her ears Sir, - I am returning to Israel in March after a 35-year hiatus and would like to contact my Israeli piano teacher, Hella Modai, who inspired me to became a piano teacher myself. I was wondering: Is there an organization that could track her down, if she is still alive? I took lessons from her home in 1970; the address was Hakongress Hazioni Street, in Herzliya Pituah. Her phone number or zip code then was 932-705. LILLIAS COWPER Calgary, Alberta, Canada