August 23: First things first

The more than 90% penetration rate of the recent rocket barrages reveals the inadequacy of the colorfully-named Iron Dome defense strategy.

August 22, 2011 23:22

letters. (photo credit: JP)

First things first

Sir, – The more than 90 percent penetration rate of the recent rocket barrages (“Southern cities hit by 80 Gazan rockets,” August 21) teaches us a lesson. It reveals the inadequacy (and perhaps obsolescence) of the colorfully-named Iron Dome defense strategy.

We already have the technology and know-how to create one or more large electronic “iron domes.” The Trophy system has been proven effective in combat against computer-guided antitank missiles. Our armored soldiers no longer have to fear death by incineration from such sophisticated weaponry.

Why not apply the concept to the protection of cities and towns? Indeed, if feasible, it could be used to protect the country as a whole against nuclear-tipped, long-range missiles being planned by Iran.

Our government is reportedly contemplating projects such as wind farms costing $524 million.

Now, however, budgets like that should be devoted to efforts to guarantee our survival.

We have to realign our priorities.

First things first.

Ramat Ilan

Hardly fail-safe

Sir, – We are witnessing the beginning of the end of Sinai’s demilitarization (“Egypt: The blame game,” Analysis, August 21). Some 1,800 Egyptian soldiers, with armor, have entered zones that had previously been off-limits, supposedly on a temporary basis. Israel agreed to alter the peace treaty so that Egypt could eliminate Islamic terrorists, who have found a base from which to attack Israel and smuggle weapons and terrorists into Gaza.

Curiously, freedom of movement in Sinai was made possible by the peace treaty annex itself.

With no Egyptian military allowed on the ground or in the air over almost all of Sinai, the desert, devoid of any opposition, was ripe for the insertion of nonstate Islamic forces. Now, with a strong Mubarak replaced by a less-determined leadership, terrorists are moving through Sinai unimpeded.

Whether 1,800 Egyptian troops will suffice to empty the vast desert of terrorists is yet to be seen. If not, it will come as no great surprise when Cairo requests that additional soldiers be allowed to join the conflict.

Sinai is poised to become the latest in a long history of failed demilitarizations.


Vain and venal

Sir, – Congratulations to the Palestinians who tunneled from Gaza into Egypt, then infiltrated Israel and murdered eight Israelis – just for being Israeli. You’ve condemned your fellow-Gazans to Israel’s bombs and merciless revenge. And kudos to those Gazans launching rocket barrages at Israel. You’ve just screwed your own people out of credibility and statehood.

Do these criminals seriously not expect a huge response from Israel? Palestinians who commit murders and fire rockets know their actions will trigger strong responses. Do these fanatics hate themselves and their neighbors so much? Do they despise their own people so intensely that they destroy the credibility of nearly 11 million Palestinians world-wide, and damage the Palestinian cause for statehood? If some Palestinians want to kill themselves, so be it. But they must stop destroying their own people and leave their civilian neighbors alone. They may be murdering their most ardent advocates; they’re certainly turning world opinion against the Palestinian cause.

How selfish, how vain, how venal.

O’Connor, Australia

Not Sherwood Forest

Sir, – Kol hakavod for “The welfare state” (Editorial, August 21).

The social justice protests started off in a positive manner and were to be applauded, but were soon taken over by self-appointed left-wing “economic experts” living in the past and not accepting the fact that communism/ socialism has failed and been abandoned by most of the world.

While there is much that needs to be done to correct and improve the situation, simply taking from the rich and giving to the poor is no solution, and the multitude of demands being made are just not practicable and would cause the collapse of our economy in a very short time.

The government has appointed a committee to listen to all the views and come up with practical solutions within a month, and it should be permitted to continue with its task without interference. Changes must and will come, but cannot be instituted overnight.


Put a hold on it

Sir, – Allison Barlow’s legal right to drive through Jerusalem’s Hanevi’im Street on Shabbat is not in question (“The ‘Shabbat shalom’ wars,” Comment & Features, August 21).

The issue is rather one of propriety and sensitivity to the feelings of the other.

Would Barlow be similarly up for a perfectly legal picnic lunch spread in Isawiya during Ramadan? You can bet her Arab boyfriend would put a hold on that one.


Sir, – You will not find at any time any Jew in Mea Shearim “burning trash” as part of a Shabbat protest.

The confrontation on Hanevi’im Street is troubling. It represents an ongoing clash of values between religious and secular groups. It is a very complex crisis that requires talking and mutual respect rather than name-calling.

If the situation weren’t so serious, the writer’s accusation that the blame for the confrontation lies with none other than David Ben-Gurion would evoke laughter.


Revising the truth Sir, – In his recent Jerusalem Post op-ed (“Norway is pro- Palestinian – and pro-Israeli,” Opinion & Features, August 18), the Norwegian ambassador in Tel Aviv, Svein Sevje, continues to revise the truth by claiming that his government follows a pro-Israel policy. He should have limited himself to thanking Israel for the outpouring of sympathy for Norway after the despicable murders by Anders Breivik.

The expression of Israeli empathy was all the more impressive since after this tragic incident, hate-mongering directed at Israel by mainstream Norwegian society came again to the fore.

Even if the Middle East had only one item on its agenda, the AUT camp at Utoya where Breivik murdered many could be characterized as an anti-Israel hate camp.

More information has since become available regarding how “successful” the demonization of Israel was at Utoya. When Breivik started firing, some youngsters thought it was a demonstration of how Israeli soldiers shoot at Palestinian civilians. When I first read this story by German journalist Ulrich Sahm, it seemed unbelievable. I thereupon contacted Sahm, and he provided me with several sources for his story.

AUT is the youth movement of the Labor Party of Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.

As a young man, he attended the camp at Utoya. Many Labor Party ministers came out of AUT.

It is now a breeding ground for Israel-haters, some of whom will become prominent in the party.

The Norwegian ambassador might be well advised to keep a low profile at this early stage of his posting; otherwise, a major political collision could become unavoidable.


No change there

Sir, – It would seem to me that everyone is missing the point about PA President Mahmoud Abbas proceeding to the UN for a vote on statehood. It would appear that Abbas is continuing with the three nos of Khartoum: No peace, no recognition, no negotiations.

The Palestinians haven’t changed, so why should we make compromises?


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