July 23: The legal way...

With the death penalty for terrorists, it will prove of no avail to them to hope for eventual exchange for Jewish captives or corpses.

jp.services1 (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
The legal way... Sir, - Re Frimet Roth's "The once and future child murderer" and Shmuley Boteach's "The death penalty for terrorists" (both July 22): The Nazis tried to destroy the Jewish people, and a special death-penalty law was passed for them. Islamist terrorists are attempting to at least destroy Israel, if not the Jewish people. With the death penalty for these terrorists, it will prove of no avail to them to hope for eventual exchange for Jewish captives or corpses. JAY FEDERMAN Dix Hills, New York ...to deal with terrorists Sir - These two op-eds were commendable in their depth and overall excellence, clearly demonstrating the failures in Israeli governance that have become commonplace. Back in 1984, in the aftermath of the Bus 300 attack, the Israeli anti-terrorist squad removed two of the surviving terrorists, walked them over to an adjacent field and killed them. In Burma, the British did not hesitate to kill Muslim terrorists openly, even burying them in pigskins, which ended terrorism in that country. One has grown tired of the mantra of "there is no alternative" to existing methods in dealing with terrorists. One does not have to be a student of Gemara - or even be religious - to appreciate the talmudic edict: "When one comes to kill you, kill him first." ALEX ROSE Beit Shemesh/US Think again Sir, - I write as one of the founders of the World Coalition Against The Death Penalty. British authorities ruling Palestine hanged several members of the underground Zionist Irgun organization in the 1940s following their conviction on charges of bombing and other violent attacks. Menachem Begin, former Irgun leader and later prime minister of Israel, reportedly told a former British government minister that the executions had "galvanized" his group, which subsequently hanged several British soldiers in retaliation. Begin said the hangings "got us the recruits that we wanted, and made us more efficient and dedicated to the cause... you were not sentencing our terrorists to death, you were sentencing a lot of your own people, and we decided how many" ("When the State Kills," Amnesty International, 1989). CLAUDIO GIUSTI Forlì, Italia Sir, - Since the beginning of time, the rules governing reward and punishment have been etched in stone. Rewarding violence and cruelty strengthens it - a rule modern behavior specialists tell us applies to both humans and animals. Woe to Israel for its latest rewarding of terrorists. THELMA BLUMBERG, Psychologist Kiryat Arba Good 'isms' and bad Sir, - I read with great interest, but a sense of disappointing deja vu, David Kimche's "Better Mediterraneanism than Arabism" (July 18) as he added his latest ism-du-jour to an ever-growing list. Kimche appears to have fallen into the trap of vesting President Sarkozy's Mediterranean Conference with far too much significance. Many pundits now view this coming-out party as a one-shot tour de force diplomatique fellow EU nations have already quietly attempted to limit, fearing French assertiveness. Kimche's suggestion that large-scale economic ventures in the North African countries may be one way to stem the tide of immigration into Europe is all well and good, but it will not stem the rising tide of another ism - political Islamism - which, based on the oft-heard comments at the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference and other assorted venues, appears ascendant. Who remembers the much-touted 1994 Casablanca Conference, when scores of Israeli officials and entrepreneurs descended, grandiose business plans in hand, for a variety of joint regional development projects - only to be politely dismissed by their Arab/Mediterranean colleagues, who feared Israeli economic hegemony? JEFF DAUBE Jerusalem What happened on the Peace Now tour Sir, - My wife and I are here for two months on Kibbutz Nir Am as volunteers and supporters of Israel. I am also a freelance radio journalist with 10 trips into Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel, including the North during the 2006 Lebanon War. We heard about Peace Now offering tours into the settlement areas of the West Bank and Hebron and decided we would go to get a look at areas we would not otherwise have access to. Re Josh Scheinert's "Peace Now buses turned back at Hebron again after settlers protest" (July 20): My wife and I were on one of those buses as we pulled into the military checkpoint. We were told by one of the tour leaders that she expected to be hassled by the police/IDF, and would be back after speaking with them; and to stay on the buses. We arrived at the checkpoint at 12:15 noon, having left our departure point in Jerusalem at around 11:30, 30 minutes late, stopping to rendezvous with the three buses from Tel Aviv. The writer wrote about a "confrontation" with settlers, as if they were there en masse. There were two - or maybe three - settlers in the group, with only two involved in the verbal shouting match when the police quickly stepped in to isolate and move the settlers out of the area. We would never have been in that spot for the settlers to confront if one of the tour leaders had not come back to the bus to rally us to a large rock, which he used as a pulpit to speak. The IDF allowed the freedom of speech, then targeted the settlers, not our group. They did not penetrate the milling Peace Now group more than 10 feet, and were never physical in their "intimidation" of the group. Quite benign would be my analysis of the situation. We were repeatedly assured by the Peace Now guides that entrance permits had been approved and issued. I know that none were presented at the IDF checkpoint, nor to us, the group. MICHAEL AND MICHELLE PAYNE Winchester, Virginia Forty years & still here Sir, - This year we are celebrating 40 years in Israel. We arrived in August 1968 with a young family and settled for the first six months in Ulpan Ben-Yehuda near Netanya, which sadly no longer exists. We were housed in huts, ate in a communal dining room, had little privacy and many pondered what they had given up to begin a new life on this hot piece of sandy land. But it took very little time before we had a camaraderie offering mutual assistance and advice, the doctors among us helping to treat the sick. In no time at all the American olim had organized committees and negotiated with management over everything - including better toilet paper. And we all learned Hebrew. It was a happy period for all, a time-out between the hassle of life abroad and the bustle of life in Israel. To celebrate these four decades we would like to organize a reunion for all those on the August ulpan of '68 still in Israel. Please write to [email protected] (tel. 04-823-8439); or [email protected] (tel. 04-825-2521). RUTH VOGEL EDWIN HOFFENBERG Haifa Feet that can't be beat Sir, - Israel gets a gold, silver and two bronze medals in the Maths Olympics, and a silver and bronze in the Chemistry Olympics. Yet we have not invented a paint that stays on pedestrian crossings ("Israel takes Gold in math Olympics," July 22). MICHAEL PLASKOW Netanya