Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 8/6/2012 (2813 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Re: Pawns in their game (Letters, June 5). Contrary to Dianne Baker's claims, as a result of the Israeli-Palestinian agreements following the Oslo Accords of 1993 and subsequent unilateral Israeli withdrawals, the Palestinian Authority now governs the civil affairs of the 98 per cent of Palestinian Arabs who live in the West Bank.
Area C of the West Bank, a sparsely populated land under Israeli control, is home to just four per cent of Palestinians. As to Israel's settlements, they make up less than three per cent of the West Bank's overall territory.
Baker has incorrectly assumed land was taken from the Palestinians and can, therefore, be returned. However, historical record shows while the land was controlled by various entities throughout time, it was never controlled by or taken from the Palestinians.
Before 1967, when the West Bank came into Israeli hands after a war precipitated by pan-Arab aggression, Jordan ruled the territory. Prior to that, it was under British rule. Before that, it was Ottoman territory and that of a number of other ancient empires.
Importantly, according to UN Security Council Resolution 242, Israel, having conquered the land in a defensive war, is authorized to remain in possession of the territories. According to Resolution 242, when "a just and lasting peace in the Middle East" is achieved, Israel can withdraw to "secure and recognized boundaries."
Further, Israel rejects the notion the Fourth Geneva Convention is applicable to the territories, as the convention prohibits the forcible transfer of people of one state to the territory of another state it has occupied as a result of a war.
Jews were never forced to live in the West Bank; theirs was a voluntary return to the land from which they or their ancestors were uprooted, for example, in the Hebron massacre in 1922. In sharp contrast, Israel forcibly transferred Jews out of Gaza in the "disengagement" of 2005.
As far as the claim Israelis steal water from the Palestinians, the inconvenient truth for Baker is Israel exports volumes of water to the West Bank greatly in excess of what the Oslo Accords mandated. This is done, among other reasons, to compensate for the Palestinian Water Authority's repeated failure to implement approved water projects. It's also worth remembering under Jordanian rule prior to 1967, only one in 10 West Bank households was connected to running water. Today, owing to Israel's water policy, the figure stands at 96 per cent and is rising.
I was surprised the Free Press chose to give the letter from Dianne Baker attacking the Jewish National Fund such prominence by categorizing it as Letter of the Day. And just to make sure that you got the readers' attention, a photo of an Israeli police officer detaining a Palestinian woman was popped in, almost as an exclamation point.
The JNF can speak for itself. However, considering the fact that the organization had honoured Bonnie and John Buhler the night before, the letter was also intended to embarrass a prominent and philanthropic Winnipeg family and for that alone, your paper should not have gone out of its way to give this attack such prominence.
Jewish Federation of Winnipeg
John Buhler made it quite clear his generous support of the Jewish National Fund is intended to assist in the production and expansion of the bell pepper crop — surely a matter completely devoid of politics. For Baker to take the Buhlers to task for their unusual generosity is most uncivil and extremely mean-spirited.
Does Dianne Baker not know that John Buhler has not owned his tractor company for a few years now? If other people are as ill-informed as she, it is no wonder there is turmoil in the Middle East.
Re: Tyranny of the minority (Letters, June 2). With regard to university fees and funding, Ihor Holowczynsky, Mark Lipson and Al Mackling all display a dismal ignorance of the situation in the more advanced democracies. In Sweden, for instance, there are no such things as university fees.
All you need to get into university is a really good grade-point average. Because there is tremendous competition to get in, only the very best students are accepted.
So there is no need for remedial reading courses. Only the cream of the crop of BAs go on to master's and only the best of those go on to a PhD. This naturally results in a very high quality of graduates. Teaching at one of these schools must be very rewarding.
Similarly, in the matter of the violence, we should not be too quick to condemn the union leaders. In one of the riots, a policeman inadvertently arrested one of the undercover policemen who was instigating window-smashing. Plus, how stupid must a policeman be to leave his automobile abandoned in the middle of a riot? This, too, smacks of entrapment.
Re: Outside the box (Letters, May 30). Young people inevitably test the boundaries of parental limitations, and you don't have to coach children to rebel against parental values. Nonetheless, it is a worthwhile struggle to attempt to create for children a preserve of innocence in the home during their all-too-brief childhood years, knowing that soon they will be exposed to a moral hurricane and at an ever-earlier age. Only the worldly wizened think this effort to be restrictive.
Offering many choices to children without any guidance in order to form moral judgments, and encouraging them to question those they came to school with, may seem like wisdom if you assume that the values a child already has ipso facto need to be changed.
But besides parental influences, young people today are bombarded by a welter of mind-moulding influences through media, the entertainment world and even some school curricula.
I once asked a student at the University of Manitoba why he was important. His blank stare prompted me to offer my answer, after which he responded with one of the saddest statements I've ever heard: "I'm a fourth-year biology student. All we're here for is to eat, sleep and procreate."
I'm sure the parents of this man take much comfort from what really matters: Their son arrived at this decision on his own.
Mac-Paps live on
Terrence Rundle West (All dead but one, May 30) and Francisco Valenzuela (A tribute to bravery, Letters, June 2) can be assured that the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion has been, and will be, remembered.
The 1,546 Canadian volunteers of the International Brigades (a volunteer force from 53 countries) who fought in the Spanish Civil War have been commemorated on many occasions in Spain and Canada, not only in articles, books, websites and public events, but also with monuments in Ottawa, Victoria, Toronto and Winnipeg, the latter with a plaque at city hall in remembrance of the 106 volunteers from Manitoba, of whom 21 were killed and buried in Spain.
JESUS ANGEL MIGUEL GARCIA
The Spanish Institute