January 9: Back up the claims

There is reason to seriously question the validity of Palestinian claims.

Back up the claims
Sir, – In his January 6 column (“Officers and gentlemen,” Rattling the Cage), Larry Derfner expresses outrage at the very thought that the death of Jawaher Abu Rahma was a tragic event invented by the PA. So let’s take a look at events from the past 10 years and decide if there is reason to seriously question the validity of Palestinian claims.
The most famous is the 2000 death Mohammad Al-Dura. The next was made during Operation Defensive Shield to the effect that the IDF had slaughtered 5,000 Palestinians in Jenin. In 2008, Doctors for Human Rights claimed that a Gaza man died while awaiting permission to receive cancer care; the next day the man was found alive and well. In April 2002, IDF drones filmed a funeral in Jenin; the only problem was that the dead man kept falling off the stretcher and getting back on.
So as the Kotzker Rebbe used to ask, “Who’s fooling whom?”
Petah Tikva
Sir, – If the IDF’s claim regarding Abu Rahma’s death is based on valid, and not manufactured, evidence, then it should be made public. If it is wishful thinking designed to portray ourselves as blameless, we are descending to the depth and lies of our enemies.
Maybe we are not fated to be a light unto the nations, but we certainly should have enough selfrespect to be truthful.
Worse than Goldstone
Sir, – There are many obvious problems with a panel of inquiry to investigate certain groups suspected of the “delegitimization of Israel through harming IDF soldiers” (“Left-wing NGOs infuriated by Knesset decision to probe funding from foreign sources,” January 6).
One person’s “delegitimization” is another person’s honorable, respectful criticism. The groups to be investigated will be determined by politically-motivated, self-interested people based on undocumented criteria. And only “leftwing” groups are being targeted, although right-wing groups also receive substantial financial and personal support from foreign countries and individuals.
Poor Israel: victim of its own making. Fear-instilling, criticismsilencing laws like this delegitimize Israel and Jews anywhere far more than any Goldstone Report will.
O’Connor, Australia
Labor and bread
Sir, – Reading your January 6 paper was a study in incomprehension as to how this country works at all. Dock workers who make NIS 23,000 are striking (“The unreasonable seaport strike,” Editorial), and our Diplomatic Corps, which hasn’t had an update of its salaries in 17 years, is in a “diplomatic slow down” to show that some members need welfare to get by (“Despite proposal for pay increases, striking FM workers hold out for Treasury negotiations”).
The chairman of their workers’ council makes a measly NIS 9,800 – after 20 years of service! Outstanding! My daughter speaks five languages and desperately wants to study at Hebrew University for the foreign service possibilities offered there. She wants to serve her country as she served in the army, in an arduous job but one well worth it if she can help Israel. Am I to tell her, “Honey, get another dream – it’s not worth it?”


Kfar Yona
Sir, – How embarrassing to have to cancel a presidential visit because government workers are on strike. It was equally embarrassing to see criminals go free because of the prosecutors’ strike.
It is time to put an end to government employees striking, and fire them all. There are unemployed people in Israel who would love to take their jobs.
Ma’aleh Adumim
Sir, – Regarding “Gaza rocket hits greenhouse” (January 5) and “Fruit exports to Gaza rise 25%” (January 3), they’re certainly biting the hand that feeds them.
Must be another way
Sir, – With all due respect and appreciation to Gershon Baskin for the important role he says he has played in working toward Gilad Schalit’s freedom, his criticism of those who have not yet succeeded in bringing the soldier home is unfair and disingenuous (“The forgotten soldier,” Encountering Peace, January 4).
Baskin makes it all sound so simple, and ends with confidence that we can handle whatever ramifications come afterwards. But he leaves out a crucial part of the story.
A success for Hamas is not simply a political or military matter. It would signal that kidnapping our soldiers is a very effective method for securing their demands. Perhaps if we had not made foolish deals in the past, Schalit would not have become a victim. If we give Hamas the victory it seeks, all we will do is guarantee that another one of our children is kidnapped and placed in the same miserable situation.
The implication that Prime Minister Netanyahu does not care enough to make “the tough decisions” is unfair and untrue. Maybe he understands, like all of us, that no one should have to exchange his own child in return for the Schalits’.
I pray daily for Gilad Schalit’s speedy return in good health and safety, but there must be a way to secure his freedom without sacrificing yet another of our children to a victorious Hamas.
Beit Shemesh
Sir, – Gershon Baskin claims that Gilad Schalit is a victim of the government’s lack of will to make a deal with Hamas, and discounts the high moral code of the IDF that proclaims we won’t leave soldiers behind.
That creed was abandoned years ago. If you ask anybody on the street, be they residents or tourists, “Who is Gilad Schalit?,” almost all will know the answer.
However, if you ask passersby about “Baumel, Feldman and Katz,” they will look bemused.
Well, they should know these names, as the three have been missing since 1982 when they were captured with their tank during the First Lebanon War.
Shame on Ehud Barak, who has done nothing concrete to secure news of their fate. Shame on successive governments, which would prefer to pronounce them dead and close the matter. Shame on the British government for not allowing its ambassador to Syria at the time to reveal all the facts he witnessed or learned. But greater shame on the media, the self-proclaimed watchdog of government morality, for not keeping the fate of these MIAs in the public mind.
If they are still alive, the three are no longer boys, but middleaged men – and as much sons of all of us as is Gilad Schalit. Their families deserve our sympathy, as well as closure, one way or another, to their decades-long misery.
What support?
Sir, – I felt let down by Isi Leibler (one of my favorite columnists) when he wrote that the vast majority of Israelis support a twostate solution (“Unite on defensible borders,” Candidly Speaking, December 30).
One wonders: Upon what basis did he arrive at such a conclusion? In recent elections, the Right trounced the Left, and a recent Jerusalem Post poll found that right-wing parties are gaining in popularity at the expense of the Left.
Since most of the Right opposes, both for historical and security reasons, the establishment of a new, hostile Arab state in the heart of Israel, it seems certain that Prime Minister Netanyahu does not have a mandate to make the massive sacrifices necessary for the establishment of such a state.
Though he moved leftward when he declared his support for the two-state solution, this does not mean his voters followed.