Sir, – Dennis Ross recommending that it is in Israel’s strategic interest to apologize to Turkey (“Time to shift gears in negotiations with Iran, Dennis Ross tells ‘Post,’” June 21) is like suggesting that a shop owner apologize to the crook he caught trying to break into his store.It is difficult to believe that any fair-minded, sane individual thinks a country protecting its borders needs to say, “Oh, excuse us for trying to enforce accepted international laws of illegal entry into our country.”Does the US do this when illegals attempt to enter? No. The illegals are rounded up, imprisoned or sent back to their homeland.COOKIE SCHWAEBER-ISSAN Gizo No ‘improvement’ Sir, – With regard to “Motorists beware: Road improvements form Sha’ar Hagai to capital slated to start soon” (June 21), the term “improvements” is a misnomer.The cause of the back-up of traffic from Sha’ar Hagai to Jerusalem is the bottleneck at the entrance to the city. Increasing the number of lanes from two to three will only decrease the length of the queue, not the length of time it will take to get into the city.It would be better to build a system of fly-overs and underpasses at the entrance. This would also not alter the present exits and entrances to Mevaseret Zion and the entire Mateh Yehuda region.FANNY MYERS Beit Zayit Better spent Sir, – Regarding “TAU scientists lead discovery of new technique for detecting the universe’s first stars” (June 21), I admire the work carried out by the scientists.However, wouldn’t the time, effort and money be better spent on helping mankind through new medical scientific research? In other words, more microscope and less telescope.DAVID ALTMAN Netanya Cause and effect Sir, – When considering issues of ethics, morality and human kindness, be it for victims of the Gaza blockade or refugees (“Principle and pragmatism demand an end to Gaza blockade,” Comment & Features, June 21), the most important question, which is seldom or ever mentioned, is what caused the people to become victims or refugees in the first place? If the answer is that people living in certain areas attacked Israel with missiles, bombs or other aggressive actions, they have no legitimate claim to being called victims or refugees. There are consequences to such actions.In any defensive war there is both a legal and moral justification to use collective punishment against an aggressor. Perhaps the reason the sanctions against Gaza have not worked is not that they are too severe, but that they are not severe enough.IRA NOSENCHUK Jerusalem Two-way street Sir, – I would like to condemn unequivocally the disgraceful arson attack and vandalism at the mosque in the village of Jaba near Ramallah (“Israel, PA and US condemn ‘price-tag’ attack on Jaba mosque,” June 20).There is no justification whatsoever for the desecration of holy places of any religion. However, if your reporter wants to describe this vandalism as a “hate crime” carried out by right-wing Jewish extremists, then consistency is called for and the arson and graffiti attacks carried out by Palestinian vandals against Joseph’s Tomb and the repeated desecrations at the Mount of Olives cemetery in Jerusalem should also be described as hate crimes.It should be stressed, too, that the frequent cases of vandalism against mosques in recent times all follow the same pattern, yet the police have not succeeded in finding and convicting a single perpetrator. Therefore, while it is possible that the offenders are indeed Jewish extremists who are extremely clever at covering up their tracks, the likelihood that this is some form of provocation cannot entirely be ruled out. Unfortunately, there are enough elements that are anxious to blacken the image of the settlers.It is to be hoped that the police will lay their hands on the offenders without further delay so as to put these questions to rest.NAOMI SCHENDOWICH Jerusalem Smug Alice Sir, – I read with bemusement “Author Alice Walker refuses to let Israeli publishing house reprint ‘The Color Purple’” (June 20).Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is an indictment of racism and sexism whose message is that “love transforms and cruelty disfigures the human spirit.” The book was created in the belief that literature has the power to change readers’ minds and hearts.The Associated Press reported that Walker wrote, in her letter to the Israeli publisher: “I would so like knowing my books are read by the people of your country, especially by the young and by the brave Israeli activists (Jewish and Palestinian) for justice and peace I have had the joy of working beside. I am hopeful that one day, maybe soon, this may happen. But now is not the time.”If the time is not now, but only after the transformation has taken place in people’s hearts and minds, then what purpose does literature serve? Surely, it is more important to reach an audience that is not already converted.If art has a significance beyond mere entertainment, then it has to be ready, indeed eager, to go out into the real world and get its hands dirty. A discussion between people who agree with each other is not a debate, but an exercise in smugness.DAVID BROWNSTEIN Ma’aleh Adumim Weaseling out Sir, – While Daniel Tauber (“Ulpana and the silencing of the Knesset,” Comment & Features, June 20) correctly decries the Knesset’s dismal response to the fiasco, the real responsibility for this spinelessness lies with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.After first declaring he would not allow the destruction of the homes, he inexorably decided to follow the folly of the Supreme Court – although to be fair the court really had no choice, given the government’s ineptitude.The fact is that Bibi has no principles that are not amenable to change, except self-preservation.Anyone who thinks that the houses he promised will actually be built are naive to the the point of incredulity. Mark me, he will find some way to weasel out of his commitment, be it foreign opposition, security concerns, “bad timing” or whatever, just as he has for all the hard decisions regarding our rights in Jerusalem and the Negev.Netanyahu talks a good fight, but that’s about it. At least our Arab enemies say what they mean.YISRAEL GUTTMAN Jerusalem Sir, – We have followed the controversy over Ulpana with increasing incredulity.By now, all parties to the controversy have acknowledged that there has as yet been no judicial determination of the facts of the case. Legal title to the disputed land has not been proven by either side. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court issued an order that five buildings in the neighborhood must be destroyed by July 1.Between us, we practiced law for over 40 years in New York City before moving to Israel, and we have a deep respect for that Western value, the “rule of law.”All Israelis, whether on the Left or the Right, have to worry when the highest court in the land becomes the chief agent of the subversion of judicial process and the rule of law.DIANA and ANDREW REINHARD JerusalemWhy should Israel be held to another standard?