June 29: Know your enemy

I just had very unpleasant experience at the National Library. A little more thought and effort would have made the book fair far more positive.

Know your enemy
Sir, – While I remain horrified and sickened by the Schalit family’s ordeal, I lose sympathy for them with every statement they make (“Noam Schalit to Netanyahu: You do not have the right to sentence Gilad to death,” June 27).
I would like to remind them that Hamas is the enemy, not Netanyahu. They should continue their remarkable campaign appealing to world leaders, but they should also be furiously protesting at the gates to Gaza, the doors to the Red Cross and to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. They should continue their successful bid to have the privileges of Hamas prisoners revoked, but they could also sail out to challenge the coming flotilla.
Netanyahu is not the address.
He has to think about all the people of Israel.
Sir, – As a mother, I understand the pain and agony the Schalits experience daily. But as an Israeli, I think they are threatening our lives by telling our prime minister that he does “not have the right to sentence Gilad to death.”
The Schalits should continue their fight. However, they should go after the enemy, not their friends.
Sir, – If Prime Minister Netanyahu releases terrorists in an exchange deal, Schalit is sentencing dozens of Israelis to death, as released terrorists have proved time and again that they return to maim and kill.
Directing pressure toward the Red Cross to prove that Gilad is even alive is something that has not been pursued enough.
Sir, – As Gilad Schalit enters his sixth year of captivity, it begs the following questions: Why are the Israeli government, White House, US State Department, European Union, Palestinian Authority, UN and the world media focused on the issue of Palestinian statehood without bringing the release of Schalit into the equation? Now that Hamas and Fatah have reconciled into a political alliance, it is up to all parties to demand the soldier’s release before any other preconditions are considered.
I say to Netanyahu, Obama, Clinton, Abbas, Ban and everyone else: Please do not allow Gilad to be held another day without demanding his release before embarking on new talks, votes or the appropriation of new funds.
Wesley Hills, New York
Sir, – Prime Minister Netanyahu should be proactive for a change and sponsor a resolution at the UN deploring the denial of basic human rights to Gilad Schalit.
Mr. Prime Minister, it is not enough to talk tough to Congress.
Common decency demands that you act now!
Sir, – MK Shaul Mofaz tells Army Radio that the government should “stop scaring us” about releasing Hamas prisoners, saying, “We know how to deal with terrorists.”
Evidently, he means we arrest them after their atrocities and then release them the next time Hamas kidnaps another Israeli.
Pius’s doing?
Sir, – Regarding “Envoy’s retraction of Pius praise doesn’t quell fear, discontent” (June 27), my father was a Polish Jew whose entire family was murdered by the Nazis. Dad managed to escape and after a harrowing trek found himself in a Rome prison with many other Jews.
After the Nazis came, the Italian authorities let these Jews go, fearing the worst for them. My father wound up being hidden by Catholic priests in a monastery north of the city.
These righteous priests saved many Jews at great risk to their own lives.
I can’t say for sure, but Pope Pius XII may have had a lot do with this. He may not have been a “saint” and he may not have exercised all his potential authority to save Jews in Catholic Europe, but facts such as these should be known nonetheless.
Hollow complaint
Sir, – Although there has now been a reversal of the decision to bar foreign journalists from Israel for 10 years if they are aboard the coming Gaza flotilla, the Foreign Press Association’s complaint (“Foreign journalists decry GPO warning against joining flotilla,” June 27) smacks of hypocrisy.
These are the same journalists who are ever-mindful of the need not to offend the Palestinian Authority lest they get summarily booted out of the West Bank and Gaza. Because Israel is a democracy and has a free and unfettered press, it is an easy target.
I learned long ago to read all foreign news reports about Israel, the West Bank and Gaza with a very skeptical eye. I would be far more impressed by the FPA if it were to insist on complete freedom of movement and reportage from the West Bank and Gaza. Until it has the courage to do so, its complaint rings hollow.
It’s about time
Sir, – The Taiwanese have a saying – “Better things come late” – which is the best description of the Israel-Taiwan visa-free agreement.
Liang-jen Chang, representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Tel Aviv, signed a reciprocal visa waiver agreement on June 27 that Simona Halperin, representative of the Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei, signed on June 17.
According to the agreement, Israelis and Taiwanese will be able to enter each other’s country visa-free starting August 11 for a stay of up to 90 days within a six-month period. More than 100 countries, including 35 from the EU, already have similar agreements with Taiwan.
Taiwan is an island country with 23 million citizens. Its economy is based mostly on hi-tech and electronics. In 2010 the bilateral trade volume between Taiwan and Israel was $1.4 billion.
After the agreement takes effect, trade and tourism between the two countries is expected to grow dramatically.
The writer is director of the Information Division at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Tel Aviv
Not by the book
Sir, – I just came back from a very unpleasant experience at the National Library (“Book early! National Library to give away 24,000 volumes on Sunday,” June 24).
They had advertised that they were offering their unwanted books free to the public. When I got there I saw a lot of people milling about in the space outside the library, crouching over cardboard boxes and tossing books aside. After a wait of about half an hour, a glass door opened and a man came out with a few more boxes. They were tossed out like bags of flour to a hungry Third World, and snatched up and fought over similarly.
Sir, – As someone who finds great pleasure in going to book fairs, I was very excited to add the huge book giveaway to my itinerary in Israel.
Imagine our dismay when at 10:00 a.m. the staff opened windows at the National Library and basically shoved out boxes of books for people to grab and paw through. With a little bit of extra work and a few volunteers, the books could have been brought out and placed on tables with the spines up, so people could look through them in an orderly fashion.
A little more thought and effort would have made the experience far more positive.
New York
In the photograph captioned “Righteous among nations” on Page 5 of the June 26 Jerusalem Post, Enrique Munoz Larrea is at left, Dr. Dov Schmorak is in the center and Michael (Mickey) Goldman-Gilad is at right, and not as published.