March 15: Over – for now

Europe should be ashamed if it realizes just what has been done with the money it has poured into Gaza.

Sir, – Regarding “Tense Egyptian- brokered truce goes into effect” (March 14), I find it interesting that the world community refused to show any moral indignation at the firing of missiles from Gaza into Israeli cities. Were Israel to do the same to the civilian population centers of Gaza, one could be sure that many, if not all, of these silent nations would be screaming “crimes against humanity.”
The silence is deafening.
Sir, – Europe should be ashamed if it realizes just what has been done with the money it has poured into Gaza. These funds should have gone for humanitarian purposes, for rehabilitating the lives of the population, alleviating the terrible poverty and improving education.
Instead, they were siphoned off to build rockets that can kill.
A million Israeli children, women and men were living – and still live – in fear of their lives because Europe decided there is no way of controlling the money it provides.
Never has there been an effort to educate the Palestinians for that blessed day when peace will finally come. Never has there been education to the fact that the Palestinians will also have to make compromises. Never has there been any European effort to explain to Gazans that Israel is a neighboring country, just as Egypt is.
Europe has everything to answer for in acquiescing to the rocket fire that made life so difficult and hazardous for so many Israelis.
Sir, – The cost of each rocket fired by the Iron Dome defense system should be deducted from the tax funds that Israel collects on behalf of the Gaza and West Bank administrations. Perhaps that will put pressure on the terrorist leaders.
Sir, – Following the amazing success of Iron Dome, I am waiting for the follow-up, namely an invention that makes Palestinian rockets turn round in mid-air and land in Gaza.
Sir, – All of us are aware of the saying, “In Rome do as the Romans do.” Henceforth, the IDF should surround the whole of Gaza and send in barrages of rockets. Tit for tat. Believe me, within hours they will be begging for mercy and forgiveness (and there will not be any Goldstone).
Sometimes I wonder why it takes four or five days to come to any agreement with Gaza? How long will it take to overcome our battle with Iran? I really wonder.
But about Tibi...
Sir, – We are indeed our own worst enemy – allowing, inviting and even encouraging the enemy within to take full advantage of our country’s humanity and lawful ways (“Tibi’s support for Gaza Strip ‘very grave,’ says Netanyahu,” March 13).
When are we going to wake up and punish MK Ahmed Tibi for openly supporting our terrorist neighbors? Our tax shekels pay this man’s salary while he encourages people to launch rockets that fall on our civilian population.
Some of our laws are beyond a joke. The powers that be must do something to stop this abhorrent self-destructive system from further harming our populace
Sending the message
Sir, – The Israeli government needs look no further than Gershon Baskin in order to solve its diplomatic problems with sworn enemies. All it has to do is read his press release (“Thinking and planning beyond the possible,” Encountering Peace, March 13).
Baskin was ready to spend hours text-messaging between Hamas, Israel and Egypt to solve the latest crisis. This must have been very encouraging to the residents of the South – he was trying to advance long-term understandings between Hamas and Israel.
Baskin informs us of all the wonderful things he has accomplished over the years, including the Schalit prisoner exchange. If he is so great at what he does and maintains such great communications with our enemies, let him convey the following message: Stop firing missiles from Gaza before we have no choice but to once and for all destroy the terrorist entity that rules it.
Sir, – Gershon Baskin laments the fact that the recent cycle of violence between us and Gaza was wasteful and dangerous.
He hardly mentions the unprovoked murderous attack that took eight Israeli lives in August 2011 near Eilat. He also conveniently omits the fact that since last March an additional 17 Israelis were murdered by Palestinian terrorists.
Doesn’t he see what’s taking place all around us? One wonders why he never honestly addresses these brutal facts.
Holocaust’s lesson
Sir, – Simon Goldberg’s article “Why safeguard a tortured history?” (Comment & Features, March 12) is very eloquently written. Unfortunately, however, by universalizing the Holocaust – comparing it to Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur, for example – Goldberg contradicts his main point: that the Holocaust not be forgotten or treated like any other historical event.
The Holocaust is distinctive precisely because it was a Jewish tragedy – the Jewish people was systematically targeted for genocide. In this respect, survivors are irreplaceable not only because they witnessed events first-hand, but also because they are living testimony to this uniqueness. Without them, we can expect the accelerated manipulation of Holocaust memory into a “collective” lesson, a process already underway throughout the world.
It may indeed be that the “cost of treating the Holocaust like any other historical event is too steep for humanity to bear.” More important, however, it is too steep for the Jewish people to bear. This, first and foremost, is the Holocaust’s lesson.
And so it must always remain.
All dressed up
Sir, – Michael Freund (“Peering behind Obama’s Purim costume,” Fundamentally Freund, March 8) got it exactly right when he accused US President Barack Obama of masquerading when it comes to Iran. Just look at the gaps in Obama’s announced policy.
For example, while the US has been gradually ratcheting up sanctions on Iran, there are no well defined criteria for Iranian compliance. There is no airtight verification mechanism in place, nor has there been any timetable set for compliance.
How can it even be possible to determine if the sanctions are successful? Are the Iranians supposed to declare an end to a nuclear weapons program that they have taken great pains to hide and obfuscate about? Even the International Atomic Energy Agency has only suspicions, and no incontrovertible evidence.
The advantages to Obama of this nebulosity are political: Sanctions appear resolute, while the lack of firm parameters maintains the status quo, hopefully past November.
But there are disadvantages: Sanctions harm the global economy through higher oil prices while Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons proceeds, making the ultimate job of neutralizing the threat much more difficult.
DAVID KATCOFF Jericho, Vermont
CORRECTION The fire on Jerusalem’s Ben Tzvi Street early in the morning of March 9 broke out in a residential building next to the Lev Hazahav home for senior citizens, and not as reported in “Retirement home fire injures 8” (News in Brief, March 11).