January 24: 'Boker tov,' Tony

Tony Blair has finally woken up to what Israel has been saying for the past three years.

‘Boker tov,’ Tony

Sir, – Mazal tov. Tony Blair has finally woken up to what Israel has been saying for the past three years (“Blair: West should be prepared to use force against Iran,” January 23).
Iran is the real menace to the world, not the Israel-Arab conflict. Now maybe US President Obama will wake up and understand that just talking and proclaiming economic sanctions alone won’t work, especially since Austrian, German, French, British, Norwegian, Swiss, Italian and Belgian companies continue to trade with Teheran.
Sanctions might hurt somewhat, but unless there is a complete cutoff in all economic activities between Iran and the rest of the world, things won’t change.
The European countries talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk. Negotiations with Iran are just a waste of time and allow the Iranians to proceed with their plans.
Blaming ourselves

Sir, – Enough self-incrimination by Israel’s main English-language newspaper (“Abbas warns of revolution,” January 23).
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas left negotiations with Israel when the PA refused to adhere to a previous agreement – to return to direct talks without preconditions. It is myopic, encouraging of international delegitimization of Israel, and misrepresentative of Israel’s desire and willingness for direct negotiations with the PA, to state, as you did, that “the PA left the talks... when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu decided not to extend the 10-month moratorium on new settlement construction.”
Who are they kidding?

Sir, – Regarding “PA has been torturing prisoners for years, UK group says” (January 23), we increasingly find that Hamas and other Islamic fundamentalist groups take each and every opportunity to exaggerate to the greatest extreme so as to achieve media headlines.
This report shows many statistics on casualties and the number of detention centers. I somehow think that when this same “human rights group” investigates Hamas, the investigators will let us know how many people it threw from rooftops, how many knees it shot out and what the survival rates were.
Who exactly do these people think they are kidding? MARTIN LEWIS Ramat Gan Use those phones Sir, – Given the recent quake in Israel (“3.5 earthquake felt in Upper Galilee,” January 23), the National Infrastructures Ministry should look to Japan’s early warning system, which notifies people with a special ring tone on mobile phones.
Israel has more mobile phone users per capita than many other countries. Could not such a system be implemented here? The Japanese system links together about 1,000 seismographs throughout the country to calculate the location and strength of an earthquake within a few seconds of it occurring, attempting to beat the arrival of damaging secondary waves and provide a warning.
Such a system would give Tel Aviv residents about 55 seconds of time should the epicenter be 100 km. away in Tiberias.
With one of the highest population densities in the world – slightly less than Japan’s 336 persons per square kilometer – should it not be imperative for Israel to install such an early warning system?
Sabbath tennis
Sir, – In regard to “Shahar knocked out Down Under: Pennetta comes back to oust Pe’er in 3rd round” (Sports, January 23), this is what happens when one plays on Shabbat.
US doesn’t get it
Sir, – Why is the United States so disrespected and scoffed at in terms of foreign policy? One factor may be the complete misreading of what is happening in the world.
A recent conference in Washington heard two ex-CIA agents and a member of the Brookings Institution give clear evidence of bias against Israel and lack of comprehension of the Muslim world (“‘American lives are being lost today because the the Israeli- Palestinian conflict,’” January 21).
The Muslim world is in turmoil from Tunisia to Afghanistan. The US should deal with this turmoil – the cause is certainly not the Palestinian demand for a state.
WikiLeaks cables have proved that Iran is first and foremost on the agenda of the Arab world, and not the Palestinians.
Fischer gets it

Sir, – Bank of Israel governor Stanley Fischer seems to be one of the few who understands that globalization is not to be accepted blindly and completely (“BoI tightens foreign-exchange regulations for swaps, forwards,” Business & Finance, January 20). He was the first governor to raise the base lending rate, and now he very wisely has begun limiting speculation that has taken advantage of his US dollar purchasing campaign.
Israel, together with the rest of the world, is experiencing spiraling food prices as well as acute water shortages. It is to be hoped that Fischer will guide the government to preserve our agriculture so we will remain independent and able to fully cover our population’s needs.
To cover the water shortage he should press the government to implement the government decision to build the approximately 30 desalination plants decided upon many years ago, of which just a few have been built.
When the crunch comes, globalization will not help, as every country will have to take care of its own.
Kiryat Ono
Cut the waste

Sir, – Prime Minister Netanyahu will devote part of the taxes from our natural gas discoveries to the Ministry of Defense (“PM endorses tax hike on gas, oil profits,” January 19). Here are some questions: • Why does the Defense Ministry, which has the largest allocation in the national budget, allow non-combat personnel to retire with full pensions at age 42-45? • Why continue with expensive, uninformative Galei Tzahal when there are many alternative radio stations available? • Why does the IDF continue its costly parachute training course? (No nation uses paratroopers today, only heliborne troops.) • Why does the Defense Ministry pay for overseas university training for retired generals? • Why does the IAF use its planes to ferry top brass to and from home? ELIEZER WHARTMAN Jerusalem An Israeli plan Sir, – As we speak, millions of Arabs around us are rioting in the streets. They are not chanting for attacks on the United States, the end of Israel or oil. They are demonstrating for freedom, economic advancement and enough food to feed their families.
Now is the time to give it to them.
In 2002, the Saudis offered us peace with the Arab world. They asked for a lot in return – but they did put an offer on the table, and ever since they have been able to claim that they did something tangible for the sake of peace.
Why don’t we do the same? In return for the complete annexation of Judea and Samaria, no opposition to the eradication of terror within our borders, and a comprehensive peace with all Arab nations, can’t we offer the Arab masses all our knowledge on desalination technology and modern agriculture, and total access to the hottest hi-tech sector on the planet? Why don’t we make a peace plan that invites the Arab world to join us in the 21st century?