November 15: Immoral and illegal

The state, just like any individual, has no right to change an agreement because the drilling company is more successful than was expected.

November 14, 2010 23:07
November 15: Immoral and illegal

letters 88. (photo credit: )

Immoral and illegal

Sir, – Regarding “Delek, Isramco pledge to fight gas tax” (Business & Finance, November 12), the arguments I have read suggest two views. One is that oil and gas resources belong to the state and that the prior rule, in which the state get only 30 percent of the proceeds, should be raised to 66%. The counter argument is that setting the government’s share so high would discourage future investments and hence be counter-productive.

In my opinion there is a moral aspect to this question, which should override any financial implications. The state, just like any individual, has no right to change an agreement because the drilling company is more successful than was expected. If the royalties demanded by the state only apply to future finds in areas not covered by the present agreement, that is well and good, but to retroactively abrogate an existing contract is immoral as well as illegal.

Ma’aleh Adumim

Internal peace first

Sir, – Regarding “Damascus meetings fail again to achieve Hamas-Fatah reconciliation” (November 11), what a topsyturvy world we live in.

Israel is being pressured from all sides to negotiate and make a peace deal with the Palestinians, and so create two states. Hamas and Fatah have been dragged to the negotiating table by their brother Arabs and still cannot come to an agreement.

If the two Palestinian sides cannot come to terms, how in the world does anyone think a deal can be made between Israel and the Palestinians? Surely those smug members of the UN that are in the forefront of pressuring Israel should make sure that Palestinians of all factions make peace among themselves as a condition for negotiations over a two-state solution, and thus make sure we do not end up with three states and no solution.

Beit Shemesh

Dumb and dumber

Sir, – For a country as broke as the US to give millions to the Palestinian Authority may raise eyebrows (“US accelerates funding to PA with $150 million transfer,” November 11). But that sum pales against the billions the US gives to the thriving country of Israel every year. Why the heck do we do that? The question defies an intelligent response.

San Anselmo, California

Gave at the office

Sir, – A reader made the commendable suggestion that a 10- 15 percent tax be imposed on those earning over NIS 15,000, and that the proceeds be distributed among people below, or close to, the poverty line (“Defining poverty,” Letters, November 11).

Likewise, I assume, the reader would support additional taxes to fund other worthy causes, including research to cure cancer, heart disease, AIDS and other conditions; increasing the list of medications available in the health basket; scholarships for discharged soldiers; the war on drugs; preserving the environment; etc.

Whereas in a perfect world everyone would welcome additional opportunities to help others, I suspect that these types of taxes would reduce current levels of voluntary donations to all charities, since people would feel they “already gave at the office,” and such increases to the tax burden would reduce incentives to work harder and thereby, paradoxically, lead to an overall reduction in tax revenues.

As a bumper sticker I once spotted put it: “Work harder, thousands of people on welfare depend on you.”


Watching words and numbers

Sir, – While Prime Minister Netanyahu did the right thing in refusing to kowtow to American pressure to stop building in Jerusalem (“Netanyahu to Obama: Jerusalem is not a settlement,” November 10), I was disappointed by his comment that the city is not a “settlement,” since this conveys the message that building in Judea and Samaria, even though no freeze is in existence, is not to be taken for granted.

Such a message, implying a readiness to make drastic concessions, weakens Israel’s bargaining power in the event of future negotiations and bodes ill for the settlements.


Sir, – Between 1967 and 2001, 46,978 housing units were built for Jews in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem – not one new neighborhood, not one new unit for Palestinians.

Since then, the Jerusalem Municipality has granted an average of 150-200 permits a year for Arab housing. Consider the following (incomplete) statistics for 2010 Jewish housing: March: 1,600 units in Ramat Shlomo, 20 units in Sheikh Jarrah June: 1,000 units in Silwan October: 240 units in Ramot and Pisgat Ze’ev November: 1,300 units in Har Homa, Ramot and Pisgat Ze’ev.

A thousand here, a thousand there....

“The time will come and we have nothing to negotiate for,” PA President Abbas recently opined. That time is almost here.

O’Connor, Australia

Fresh air and pride

Sir, – Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that Canada would not tolerate “the anti-Israeli mob” no matter what the political cost (“Harper: Canada will stand with Israel,” November 10), not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because “those who threaten the existence of the Jewish people are a threat to all of us.”

What a breath of fresh air! What a wonderful and accurate thing to say! What a smart man the prime minister of Canada is! One has to wonder why Harper stands alone in his pronouncements.

Petah Tikva

Sir, – I am always proud to be a Canadian. But never more than now, when my prime minister and my government take such a strong and moral stand on an issue of such importance to everyone in general, and to me specifically.


Kudos for columns

Sir, – Thank you for Judy Montagu’s excellent “Why context is crucial” (In My Own Write, November 10). Without history, as she says, what are we? And where? I would like to thank you also for another regular columnist who writes so well on a myriad of subjects: Liat Collins.

Kudos all around!



Talibanized Kotel

Sir, – While attending the recent bar mitzva of my grandson, I was horrified by the utter marginalization of women at the Western Wall. We could not witness him reading the Torah, as a higher partition had been erected – if you could haul yourself up on a flimsy plastic chair you could see the proceedings for a while, but my great-granddaughters could see nothing.

I find it appalling that the people in charge of the site did not provide women with steps and a bench to facilitate witnessing the ceremony. I have a good mind to post a photo of my little girls peering through the slats of the partition on YouTube.

We came all the way from Australia to witness the Talibanization of women at the Kotel. I will certainly put it in the local Jewish press to warn those who hope to bring their sons to the Western Wall that humiliation awaits them.


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