June 30: For and against the deal with Hizbullah

Prisoners today, it thus appears, are held for one reason only: so they can be used as bargaining chips for whatever reason.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
For and against... Sir, - Laura Lubretzky, the wife of a reservist from Eldad Regev's and Ehud Goldwasser's unit and the mother of two small boys, warned that if the cabinet rejected the deal with Hizbullah, "no one in my house will wear a uniform." Her husband Dudu, due to begin reserve duty on July 13, said that if the cabinet rejected the vote he would consider not going. My reply to them is that if the cabinet accepts the deal, I will suggest that no one in my family put on the uniform because the government has made them future targets for kidnapping ("Soldiers' families plead with ministers for swap," June 29). DAVID M. ARLAN Rehovot ...the deal with Hizbullah Sir, - There seems to have been a subtle change in Israel's approach to terrorism, though perhaps it is not official policy, in which the deadliest terrorists are pinpointed and eliminated on the spot in "targeted killings." Prisoners today, it thus appears, are held for one reason only: so they can be used as bargaining chips for whatever reason. If we freed 1,000 prisoners for a few Jewish souls and these terrorists were transferred to Gaza, in itself a prison, I would have regrets, certainly; but I would not raise a finger to protest the deal. If Israel has indeed found a way to deal with the worst of the terrorists, we may yet see some type of lasting truce. PAUL BERMAN Shoham Cold darkness of absence Sir, - Caroline Glick wrote with poignancy about the Schalit, Regev, and Goldwasser families that "in their unmitigated suffering, they cannot come to terms with this horrible fact because for them the country, and indeed the world, is made up of their loved ones. This is the natural human condition. Each person's world is defined by the presence and absence of his loved ones. For the Goldwassers, Regevs and Schalits, Israel is a meaningless, cold, dark place when it doesn't include their sons" ("Not a personal affair," June 27). Gone is Ms. Glick's bitterness. Gone is her rhetoric. Gone are her polarizations. Hasn't she, perhaps unwittingly, pointed us to the reason for the intensity and interminableness of the conflict? Both sides' living victims' worlds are divided into the "cold darkness of absence" and the - to them - impudent and insulting presence of those "with blood on their hands." Assigning any single, ultimate blame for the intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict, from the late 19th to the mid-20th centuries, seems as impossible as the question of the priority of the chicken or the egg. The original people are either long dead, or, as in the case of 1947-49, only a few older ones remain with cherished and contradictory memories. In the meantime, only living people, Israelis and Palestinians, can either cease or continue this conflict. "Personal stories are always powerful. Whether they are tragic, titillating or irritating, they never fail to attract our attention," Glick wrote. What else does this century-old conflict and hatred ultimately consist of but ramifications of personal stories? For the conflict to ever end, the living people, victims on both sides, need to be released from their grief and anger and hatred. JAMES ADLER Cambridge, Massachusetts 'Stability' glues bums to seats Sir, - Your commendable editorial "Trouble at home" (June 29) should be required reading for all MKs. But while what you said was to the point, you and the rest of the media are contributing to the problem. You wrote about the government with seriousness and gravity, when what is needed is to treat its antics - the PM's astounding efforts to cling to office and the Labor leader's duplicity - with derision and contempt. You proposed a "policy czar," when the remedy is to rid ourselves immediately of this pestilential excuse for a government. The spectacle of our leaders jockeying for position and personal advancement and, above all, keeping their worthless bums on Knesset and cabinet seats - all in the name of "stability" - has gone on too long. As Oliver Cromwell said to the Rump Parliament in 1653: "You have sat too long for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!" MERVYN DOOBOV Jerusalem Sir, - The proverbial adhesive that keeps Knesset members solidly glued to their seats is seemingly impossible to unstick, even if it would be in Israel's best interests for new elections to be held. FAY DICKER Lakewood, New Jersey Pride and prejudice Sir, - I was struck by the power of an image and a sound-bite to distort an issue. Your Friday front page juxtaposed the pictures of two different men: what looked to be a very happy, friendly-looking fellow over a "Pride" caption, and a frightening, almost demonic-looking one over the word "Prejudice." I would suggest that the primary drive for the protest against last Thursday's "Gay Pride" parade was something that seems increasingly rare in today's world - moral outrage. Not only at immoral behavior, but at it being publicly forced on us amid the sanctity of the holy city of Jerusalem. A much better example of prejudice, to my mind, was a story reported in your on-line edition (June 29): "Police on Thursday afternoon detained a haredi man in Jerusalem for holding an insulting sign against the gay pride parade, some two hours before the scheduled start of the event in the capital." That was liberal hypocrisy and intolerance, as well as blatant prejudice. ASHER RESNICK Ramat Beit Shemesh What have we poor country folk done? Sir, - The Israel Postal Company will drive the final nail into the coffin of the art of letter-writing, at least for those who receive rural route mail (doar na). It has been a month since the last mail delivery to my kibbutz. There is a strike going on that no one seems to know or care about, probably because it affects such a small portion of the population. Since the privatization of the postal system, service for citizens like myself, who live in the periphery, has only deteriorated. My kibbutz has not received mail on Fridays for over a year - because we are "too far out of the way," although we are within the recognized borders of this country. As a former resident of the US (and like any one else from abroad) I must pay a NIS 35 surcharge for packages, even if the item is not taxable. Citizens receiving packages from within the country are not required to pay such charges. As a teacher, I sympathize with the postal workers and agree that public servants do not get their due; yet the strike has been going on for four weeks and has not been given any public recognition. Are the postal service's new managers looking to get rid of "inconvenient" customers like us? The absurd part of this situation is the fact that mail trucks continue to pick up mail and to deliver registered letters. They are very happy to take our money, just not to provideservice. AILEEN MCCAULEY-KOPELS Kibbutz Ma'aleh Gilboa CORRECTION Susan Turnbull's political inspiration, Jerry Springer, was a member of Cincinnati, Ohio's city council and later that city's mayor, and not as stated in "Pursuing justice" (June 25).