June 23: Death penalty for terrorists who kill Jews

One of the main problems in the prisoner release in exchange for our kidnapped soldiers is that we have many terrorists with Jewish blood on their hands in our jails.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Death penalty for... Sir, - One of the main problems in the prisoner release in exchange for our kidnapped soldiers is that we have Samir Kuntar and many other terrorists with Jewish blood on their hands in our jails. We need to introduce the death penalty for these types of terrorists, thus removing one of the Arabs' main blackmail tactics. After all, the US still maintains the death penalty for murderers in most states. Another mistake is our policy of allowing the Red Cross to visit Arab prisoners in our jails when there is no reciprocity. This must change. It is outrageous that Kuntar got married and had children while in our prison, and yet we have no idea of the condition of any of our captives since the 1980s. Until we show more gumption, this terrible state of affairs will continue ("Government teams formed to forge future 'kidnapping policy,'" June 22). JUDY PRAGER Petah Tikva ...terrorists who kill Jews Sir, - By keeping these murderers alive we are asking for our soldiers to be kidnapped and used as pawns in this pathetic game called prisoner exchange. Had Samir Kuntar been put to death for his heinous crimes in 1979, as he fully deserved, we would not be in the moral dilemma we are now ("The grief of one mother; the hope of another," June 20). RONIT PINCHUCK Hashmonaim Get Gilad out, quick Sir, - The urgency of releasing Gilad Schalit from inhumane captivity cannot be sufficiently stressed. He has been in solitary confinement, without proper medical treatment for two years now and it is difficult to imagine his state of mind after this long period ("Shalit's letter to his family," June 22). The approximate price being asked for his release has almost certainly been known for many months while the bargaining continued. We don't like to admit it, but Ron Arad was lost to the Jewish people because of our refusal to pay the price and because we dragged our feet. Our enemies place little value on human life, ours or theirs. They have a very long journey to make until they reach the level of civilization the free world knows today. We seem to believe that whatever we do has to be in line with precedents and civilized ways, but, sadly, every crisis with the Palestinians has no bearing on what was, or will be in future. We must do our best to complete the prisoner transaction as quickly as possible. We treat our terrorist prisoners humanely. Possibly the time has come to review that treatment. DAVID GOSHEN Kiryat Ono Sir, - I am somewhat surprised that the Palestinians so freely admit that one Jewish soldier is worth thousands of them - evidenced by their request for so many in return for one. They seem so afraid of even one more IDF soldier being available to Israel! CLIFFORD MARTIN Keizer Trick or truce? Sir, - I searched everywhere for a picture of Sderot kids playing in a park or old folk happily drinking coffee in the shade of an umbrella on the first day of the truce with Hamas. Nothing! There was a photo of Palestinian security officers playing ping-pong, and one of IDF soldiers playing soccer, but none showing Sderot residents reveling in their new situation. Then it hit me: There is no truce for us. Hamas's leaders can now walk about openly, without fear of harm. Gaza citizens will be receiving large amounts of supplies through the reopened crossings. Israel has handed Hamas de-facto recognition and the chance of legitimacy in the eyes of many European governments. Trade with the outside world will soon burgeon. Mahmoud Abbas is ready to talk about a unity government, and it will not be long before Hamas also controls the West Bank. For all this, they gave us nothing but an empty promise. Gilad Schalit is still in their hands and there is a real danger he will be spirited out of Gaza to an unknown destination through the reopened borders. Since Israel agreed to the truce anyway, they would have been crazy to give up such a bargaining card. The strong incentive to return him now no longer exists. Hamas can regroup, rearm and redeploy with impunity; for them, the return to hostilities is not a matter of if, but when. Most people in the border towns and settlements are waiting for "the other shoe to drop." As the government scrambles pitifully for world approval, has it occurred to it that this truce, far from being a light at the end of the tunnel, is most likely an express train rushing toward us? ("Kassam-weary Sderot kids pray for extended calm... but doubt they'll get it," June 20.) MOSHE BECKER Petah Tikva Might makes right Sir, - Re Moscow's man in Israel (June 20): Ambassador Stegniy said: "Every country has a legitimate right to a peaceful nuclear program." Why not a corollary right to a nuclear weapons program? It may be unpleasant to admit, but "right" in the nuclear context is a euphemism for "whatever a country can get away with." Recent cases in point: North Korea and Iran, and more to come. GERRY MANDELL Omer Blood equals life Sir, - Thank you for Judy Siegel's report on the status of blood donations in Israel ("Only 4.3 percent of Israelis donate blood. Biggest blood recipient meets donor who saved her life," June 17). American Friends of Magen David Adom is proud to have supported Magen David Adom in Israel for the past 68 years. In addition to scores of new ambulances donated annually and the rebuilding, renovation and new construction of several MDA EMS stations throughout Israel, AFMDA is especially proud to support MDA's life-saving work through the National Blood Center. American donations built the blood center a generation ago and will be central in expanding the MDA national blood services for the coming generations. AFMDA promotes blood donation opportunities in Israel among American tourists; in the last two years some 1,800 people have participated as a result. AFMDA is also proud of its role in helping remind Israelis of the need, opportunity and responsibility to donate blood. For more information about arranging a blood donation for Americans in Israel and visiting MDA facilities, please contact [email protected] JONATHAN FELDSTEIN Israel Representative, AFMDA Jerusalem Katz's passion for the truth Sir, - The late Shmuel Katz was one of the few who passionately presented Israel's case to the world. He proved the Allies' perfidy with documents, but even without documentation there is plenty of evidence that the refusal to bomb the railway lines to Auschwitz was nothing more than a lame excuse. Anyone checking the archives of Allied newspapers for the period 1944-45 will find that 1. Allied bombers flew from Britain on bombing missions in East and Central Europe - bombing even factories close to Auschwitz - before landing in Russia, where they refueled and rearmed in order to bomb again on their return trip; and 2. the Allies were so proud of the "pinpoint" bombing of French railway lines prior to D-Day. Pinpoint bombing to save a few thousand Jews? You must be kidding! It may be that the chief of the RAF Bomber Command did not recall being asked to bomb the railway lines to Auschwitz, but these bombers were under the overall command of Eisenhower and Gen. Spaatz, commanding officer of the American Air Forces in Europe, whose letter of refusal and excuses can be read at Yad Vashem ("Exposing Allied perfidy" June 11). MENACHEM DAYAGI Tel Aviv