January 31: Look who’s talking

A Palestinian official said Israel brought nothing new in peace talks. What did the Palestinians bring that was new?

Look who’s talking
Sir, – Regarding the failure of the talks in Amman between Israel and the Palestinians, an unnamed Palestinian official was quoted as saying that Israel “brought nothing new in these meetings” (PA officials: Israeli border proposal a non-starter,” January 29).
What did the Palestinians bring that was new? All they brought was their usual pre-conditions, for Israel to return to the 1967 borders and stop settlement building, as well as for the return of the refugees and no recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. In other words, agree to everything they want first, and then we will talk.
HARVEY MATTHEW
Jerusalem
A game, but fun
Sir, – I find myself also in the wee morning hours experiencing the same elation and posing the same questions as Herb Keinon (“Rejoicing over the insignificant,” Out There, January 29).
I was a Tulane University freshman when the New Orleans Saints (then and for years after referred to as the ’Aints) came into being. But it is an undeniably great feeling to cheer the likes of quarterback Drew Brees, who came to New Orleans – where my family has roots from the 1830s – in the aftermath of Katrina’s devastation, vowing to bring the Saints to victory and the city back to its feet. He did both.
I enjoy the uncomplicated nature of rooting for the team.
It is indeed only a game, and lots of fun.

SHOSHANA WEINSTEIN
Kfar Adumim
Prevent the shaking
Sir, – Regarding “Ministry requires giving all new parents a booklet explaining ‘shaken-baby syndrome’” (January 27), the distribution of a booklet is an excellent idea, especially because there are dozens of cases each year. It should be delivered before a birth to enable parents to study and prepare for what they are about to face.
The early days of parenthood are very often stressful times for young parents, especially when more than one child is born and both parents have their hands full. The material needs to be digested and understood.
The booklet should be available on the Internet in all languages.
There should also be a hotline operated around the clock in all languages, to which parents can turn when they feel they are not able to cope.
In times of extreme pressure, young parents need to be able to consult immediately with experienced advisers. In extreme cases there should be back-up advisers who on short notice can visit the home.
It would also be wise to research the circumstances in which parents shake babies.
We have to take into account that there is little invested in training parents for childhood.
Young couples live under excessive stress due to the difficult economic situation in this country.
There is also reserve army duty for those young fathers who serve. Finally, there is the constant stress caused by our security and political situation, which does not contribute to peaceful child rearing.
Like many problems in this country, we are slow to investigate the root causes, something that would enable prevention.
DAVID GOSHEN
Kiryat Ono
Surprising finding
Sir, – In “Jewish Israelis becoming more religious, poll finds” (January 27), you report that on matters of gender roles, “Sixtyseven percent of haredim believe that the husband should work and support the family while the wife stays home to take care of the children, while only 35% of the modern Orthodox feel that way.
Only 18%-20% of the secular community are of that opinion.”
Does this mean the popular perception that haredi men do nothing to support their families, preferring instead to live off handouts while studying fulltime, is incorrect?
MARTIN D. STERN
Salford, UK
Triggering a response
Sir, – With regard to “Waiting for a trigger” (Security & Defense, January 27), the Chinese military philosopher Sun Zu wrote that one has to choose the right time and the right terrain – on your terms – to win a battle.
This is what we need to do.
We must also demand the unconditional surrender of the enemy.
It is sad that I have to write this, but as a former combat soldier and father of a reserve soldier, the truth needs to be told, even if it is only a reader’s opinion.
MURRAY JOSEPH
Kiryat Motzkin
Sir, – Because of arms caches located in civilian homes during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip, the IDF and Shin Bet would call up and warn residents to evacuate because the homes were about to be bombed.
Yaakov Katz quotes a senior officer from the Gaza Division as saying about one particular instance: “After we called to warn the residents of the home, we saw via our drone that they had climbed to the roof together with some of their neighbors and were jumping up and down. There was a debate whether to attack and we decided not to.”
This is another symptom of our degeneration, where it is obvious how little regard our government has for the lives of its own people compared to the fear of upsetting our “friends.”
The question now being asked in the IDF is what would motivate Israel to launch such an operation there today. They don’t tell us, however, just how many of our deaths it will take before they have the right excuse.
EDITH OGNALL
Netanya
Aim for the top
Sir, – Jessica Montell, executive director of B’Tselem, makes an interesting argument in “Three years after Operation Cast Lead” (Comment & Features, January 26), that Israel is not careful enough to avoid civilian casualties in its actions against Hamas terrorists in Gaza who shoot at Israelis.
She writes: “The [Israeli] military apparently targeted civilian buildings, like government ministries and the parliament building, although there is no indication they had any military function.”
The government was Hamas and the offices were those of its “ministers” of defense and police, and of other ministries that controlled armed groups.
The parliament passed laws that permitted armed groups to attack Israelis.
Any government is a legitimate military target as it controls and directs armed forces. Montell’s attitude means she favors protecting the leaders of Hamas and justifying their actions.
The objective of Israel’s defense is to stop terrorists and all attacks on its population, and the only way is by removing the leaders.
AHARON GOLDBERG
Hatzor Haglilit
Only Feiglin
Sir, – “There is no point in voting for Feiglin, who will always be seen as a foreign influence on the party and will never be accepted,” said a Likud organizer (“Likud hawks call to boycott party primary,” January 23).
The boycott is against Prime Minister Netanyahu’s policies because “he purposely advanced the race so another candidate couldn’t run,” but also because of his support for a Palestinian state, his failure to build enough in Judea and Samaria and his opposition to legalizing the Migron outpost in its current location. Who else but Moshe Feiglin has consistently stood strongly against these policies and any others that endanger our land? A vote for Feiglin is a vote for the justness of our historical rights in the whole of the Jewish land, in the faith of our people to stand against an ever-increasing hostile world, and a resounding “no” to a Palestinian state in the Land of Israel.
“Never again” must really mean never again. If Netanyahu has his way and goes through with his abandonment of hundreds and thousands of Jews in Judea and Samaria, who will we blame when we are once more a homeless and defeated people, with all doors closed to us?
YENTEL JACOBS
Netanya