February 21: Paying the price

Once more we have fallen into the trap our enemies make for us.

Paying the price
Sir, – An Israeli defense official said that Jerusalem had agreed to the deployment of hundreds of additional Egyptian soldiers to the northern Sinai to guard a pipeline that carries natural gas to Israel after a February 5 explosion at a gas terminal in the area disrupted the flow (“Egyptian army deploys hundreds of troops to guard Sinai gas pipeline to Israel against attack,” February 18).
Once more we have fallen into the trap our enemies make for us. The reason given is that the explosion was caused by a bomb, refuted by the Egyptian gas company, which said it had been caused by a leak. Which explanation makes the most sense?
Egypt has finally realized what it has been trying to achieve for many years. We had already allowed roughly 800 Egyptian troops to move into northern Sinai in late January – which of course was a one-off, not to be repeated.
Weak leadership is once again making us vulnerable, and should Egypt decide – rather, when Egypt decides – to attack us, the Israeli people who thought their government was looking after their security will pay the price. Don’t they always?
Tax clarity needed
Sir, – May I comment on Gil Shefler’s excellent article, in which he referred extensively to me (“Squabble over settlements puts British olim in a tax jam,” February 18).
As to the British Embassy’s denial regarding the new treaty, it is to be assumed that the Israel Tax Authority knows whether or not one was signed – the UK tax authority even sent my UK accountant details that confirm this fact. This is another example of the UK giving out disinformation/ misinformation on the tax agreement.
It is to be hoped that the treasury here will not make the same mistake in the wording of the treaty, and not use the word “exempt” – only “zero-rated,” as “exempt” is like a red flag to a bull for tax authorities universally.
I understand Israel’s reluctance to do anything that differentiates between areas within the Green Line and the territories, but it should be possible to come to an interim solution for those living within the pre-1967 boundaries. Let’s face it, with exports from the territories to the EU no longer getting any alleviation on customs duties, so it will be with the tax.
Let’s hope that the Jewish Agency’s Aliya Department and Nefesh B’nefesh inform potential immigrants from the UK, especially pensioners, of the true tax position!
PAUL WEISER Herzliya Pituah
Sir, – When I made aliya as a retired person recently, I was led to understand that there would be a 10-year moratorium on foreign income (e.g., pensions). Of course, one must calculate that one can afford to live in Israel before coming here, so the given information was a major factor in my decision.
I now read in your paper that because of settlements, the Golan Heights, etc., which are not recognized as part of Israel by the UK, there is some doubt as to everybody’s rights in this respect.
It so happens that, in spite of my obvious support for Israel in general, I have never personally agreed with settlements, as a secular person. I do not see why I or any other reasonable, thinking person in Tel Aviv should be made to suffer for that which I do not support.
The settlers are there for two reasons: either subsidized housing and other financial breaks, or because they, as religious people, truly believe that they have a Godgiven right to live there, ignoring any claims by others who have lived there for generations.
Our government should see to it that our double taxation agreement is in no way ruined because of a selfish minority. I trust that your newspaper will press for clarification on this matter.
Over the line
Sir, – I am deeply offended by two articles in the February 18 paper: “African migrants subject to systematic rape and torture enroute to Israel, new report shows” and “Convicted rapist Goldblatt’s sentence reduced,” both of which detail abuse in so much detail as to approximate pornography.
Yes, we need to know the kind of abuse that was committed, but do we really need to read the step-by-step progress of the rape or the manner in which the victim’s clothing was removed?
Both of these articles go over the line! The Jerusalem Post has been much admired and supported for maintaining a high editorial standard of coverage without exploitation or indecencies. It has reported bloody scenes of war and terrorism without gruesome details of torture or torn bodies.
Your readers would have expected a similar sensitivity to the description of rape and abuse of women and children.
R. EHRLICH Jerusalem
Wrong ‘wrong message’
Sir, – I am afraid that in “The wrong message” (Editorial, February 18), your writer has himself given the wrong message by omitting what is perhaps Israel’s most cogent claim to “close settlement” of Judea and Samaria.
The state of the Jewish people has the only valid legal claim to that area. It constituted the only legal heir to the League of Nations mandate awarded to Britain for the purpose of preparing this territory for a Jewish national home.
The territory was captured from Jordan, which had invaded it in defiance of the UN, and its occupation was recognized only by Britain and Pakistan. In addition, Israel occupied it in a war of selfdefense.
Many reputable international jurists uphold the legality of Israel’s claim.
Hear out naysayers
Sir, – Isi Leibler accuses London’s The Jewish Chronicle of adopting “a negative approach, endorsing calls encouraging Jews to criticize the Israeli government” (“Objectionable behavior, questionable leadership,” Candidly Speaking, February 17).
In lieu of a defense of the Chronicle, may I be permitted to relate a story dating back to just over 40 years ago.
On May 29, 1970, the Chronicle featured a bold front-page headline: “Mrs. Meir’s new peace bid.” The story included a detailed report on a major address, “one of the grimmest speeches ever heard in the Knesset.”
Reporting on the subsequent debate, the paper commented: “...the most notable surprise being the speech of Mr. (ex-General) Moshe Carmel, minister of transport in the last government, who had generally been counted among the ‘hawks.’ He is a member of the Labour Party. Mr. Carmel accused the government of regrettable passivity in several instances. He mentioned Israel’s failure to respond to a recent statement by King Hussein on his readiness to talk with Israel if Jerusalem were included in the discussion, and an interview with President Nasser stating his willingness to sign a peace agreement if Israel accepted the Security Council resolution.”
The full text of MK Carmel’s speech was duly published in the Knesset Records.
It is doubtful if these matters were reported in the Israeli press or if many Israelis are aware of Moshe Carmel’s warnings of 1970. Those were the euphoric days of “Liberated land will not be returned” and “Better Sharm e-Sheikh without peace than peace without Sharm e-Sheikh.”
It might be argued with some logic that had we listened to Carmel’s warnings in 1970, as they were reported in the Chronicle, and with some less arrogance on our part, we might possibly have achieved that same peace deal with Egypt, but without the tragedy of the Yom Kippur war.
And quite possibly, there may be a lesson in this for us even today.