March 4: Asleep on the job

The fallacious contentions of PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad were left unchallenged.

Sir, – While I find Khaled Abu Toameh’s reporting of events on his beat to be of professional standards, I was disappointed by “Abbas condemns Israeli raid on Ramallah TV stations” (March 1).
Other than citing the assertions of the IDF and unnamed Communications Ministry officials that the offending television broadcasts on unauthorized frequencies endangered radio communications at Ben-Gurion Airport, the fallacious contentions of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad were left unchallenged.
According to the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement of September 28, 1995, Annex III, a schedule of six approved television frequency channels and transmitter locations was an integral part of accords signed by both sides. The offending television broadcasts were in clear violation of said agreement, and moreover were a challenge to the licensing powers of the PA itself.
The IDF was clearly doing what Abbas and Fayad should have done.
Blood barriers
Sir, – I was pleased to see your picture of US Ambassador Dan Shapiro donating blood (“Bonding through blood donations,” March 1). It is sad, of course, that another Jewish ambassador to Israel, Britain’s Matthew Gould, would be unable to do so.
Israel still refuses to accept blood from those who have lived in the UK out fear of CJD (aka Mad Cow Disease). Accordingly, British olim are deprived of the opportunity to help Israel in one of the most basic and crucial ways. I myself was precluded from giving my wife a direct donation when she underwent a bone marrow transplant.
Surly it is time these guidelines were reviewed.
Harvard yardstick
Sir, – Like Dan Diker (“Laundering anti-Semitism at Harvard,” Comment & Features, March 1), I vehemently oppose those in the academic world who think of themselves as morally superior by advocating a one-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians.
Not only are they wrong in terms of “moral reflection” – for every people, including the Jewish people, has the moral right to have its national identity recognized and respected – they are wrong in terms of “social observation.”
One look at the dire socio-economic figures for 2011 in post- Apartheid South Africa makes me reflect upon the morality of a political solution that does not take account the welfare of its citizens.
Sir, – Your article,“Harvard hosting conference on one-state solution” (February 28) includes the university’s lame excuse: The students made us do it.
Harvard would never sponsor or allow students to sponsor conferences such as “Castrate Homosexuals – A Solution for Aids?,” “Boycott all Muslim States,” “Slavery – Solution for Unemployment?” or “Women – Back to the Kitchen.”
These are absurd examples, of course, but somehow, in its concern for student rights, Harvard allows a conference that could just as well be titled “The End of the Jewish State – Peace at our Doorstep.”
This blatant and absurd conference is an example of political correctness run amok. Harvard must examine far more carefully why not everything its brilliant faculty and intellectually endowed students suggest is morally and ethically correct.
This proves that being very smart does not prevent exceptional stupidity.
Ignoring the issue
Sir, – Representing the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Israel and the “occupied territories,” Eitan Diamond cites the norms of international law regarding urban conflict (“Lawful conduct in urban warfare,” Comment & Features, March 1).
Diamond emphasizes that civilians must not be targeted, operations must not cause excessive damage to civilians, and precautions must be taken to minimize civilian risk. Missing from his essay, however, is any consideration of how Israel can defend itself from an enemy that, far from minimizing risk to civilians, uses a strategy that protects its military (and materiel) by purposely embedding itself within the civilian population.
How will the norms of international law deal with situations in which humane military forces must fight grossly inhumane forces? Surely the ICRC doesn’t expect countries to be unable to defend themselves?
STEVE KRAMER Alfei Menashe
Wrong conflation
Sir, – Emelie Laurin’s op-ed on the rise of anti-Semitism and violence against Jews in Sweden (“Anti-Semitism in Sweden and the year of Raoul Wallenberg,” Comment & Features, February 29) correctly links that rise to Islamic radical ideology and Islamic immigration. But conflating those threats with the allegedly far-right Sweden Democrat Party (SD) was inaccurate and unfair.
The SD is pro-Zionist and anti-Jihadist and has taken a hard line on Islamic immigration. It is not anti-immigrant per se; it recently fielded a slate of candidates that was 14 percent foreign born, representative of Swedish society as a whole.
The party has been outspoken in its support of the publishers of the Muhammad cartoons in Denmark. It understands the threat to freedom posed by Shari’a law far better than the country’s other mainstream parties.
The director of Jihad Watch, Robert Spencer, addressed the party in 2010 and was photographed flanked by two of its members, one Jewish, the other an Iranian immigrant.
Through its fearless willingness to examine Islam honestly and to take concrete steps in self-defense, the SD and parties like it are the best hope for the beleaguered Jews of Europe.
DAVID KATCOFF Jericho, Vermont
Same sentiments
Sir, – “The longer I serve as prime minister, the more I appreciate Menachem Begin,” said Binyamin Netanyahu (“Menachem Begin remembered, February 28). At last, something we can all agree on.
Open Atarot
Sir, – Perhaps before signing an “open skies” agreement with the EU (“Histadrut paves way for airline strikes,” Business & Finance, February 28), the government should include Jerusalem in this arrangement by reopening Jerusalem’s Atarot airport.
If there is a security threat, get rid of the threat. Do not surrender to it.
Unnecessary fight
Sir, – Regarding “A monumental battle” (My Word, February 26), this might be considered heresy but the Six Day War battle for Ammunition Hill could have been avoided.
On June 6, 1967, the paratroops overran the police academy and raced on to the adjacent Ammunition Hill. They knew, or should have known, that the hill was held by seasoned and well-protected Jordanian troops. It was folly to launch an unsupported frontal attack on that highly fortified position.
The following day the air force napalmed the last Jordanian outpost, which was located next to the Augusta Victoria Hospital.
The soldiers there were cremated and the site was taken without a fight.
Had the army called in the air force, Ammunition Hill could have been taken without the loss of 35 paratroopers.