Palestinians must take responsibility, action to revive...


April 17, 2001

Palestinians must take responsibility, action to revive peace talks

In a recent report in The Sun, Palestinian officials called on the United States to "get the peace process going again" ("Young West Bank victims buried," April 2)

Abba Eban said Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. There could have been a Palestinian state in 1948 if they had accepted the U.N. Partition Resolution instead of waging war. After the 1967 war launched by Arabs, Israel's offer of peace was met with a resounding "no peace, no negotiation, no recognition."

In 1979, when Israel and Egypt contracted peace, Israel tendered Palestinians a five-year autonomy plan to conclude in final status. This, too, was rejected.

And now, true to form, Yasser Arafat, has insisted on bungling an opportunity with the Oslo Accords, walking out on the talks and scorning former Prime Minister Ehud Barak's unprecedented concessions.

If Palestinian officials want talks to resume, let them stop whining and take responsibility themselves. Let them rescind the PLO charter still trumpeting Israel's destruction.

Let them make clear that violence must stop; that fomenting of fanatical hatred by radio, TV and newspapers, subverting the very idea of peace, must cease; that imams in their mosques exhorting Arabs to kill Jews is an abomination; and that indoctrinating 10-year-olds to become suicide bombers is barbaric -- and perpetuates the medieval mindset on war.

Rea Knisbacher


Gay rights legislation offends the faith of many citizens

The recent letter "Law needn't uphold bigotry of religious conservatives" (April 4) mischaracterized my position on the Antidiscrimination Act of 2001.

I firmly believe that all human beings should be treated respectfully and fairly. I have not supported, nor would I support, legislation which would remove from homosexuals the same constitutional and legal protections that exist for all other citizens.

This bill, however, forces Marylanders of many religious beliefs to accept a lifestyle which may contradict the tenets of their religious faith. And an amendment to protect individual's personal religious values was rejected by the Senate.

I was not prepared to support legislation which would force many people to abandon their religious principles.

Nancy Jacobs


The writer represents Harford County in the Maryland Senate.

Attracting immigrants brings new life to cities

Kudos to The Sun for identifying an issue for Baltimore: the city's lack of progress attracting and retaining America's newest residents ("Immigrants mostly bypass Baltimore," April 8).

Virtually every major American city that has been able to attract immigrant families has prevented population loss, maintained and increased its tax base, and fostered entrepreneurial spirit in pockets of previous despair.

Baltimore's strength lies in its diverse neighborhoods and diverse persons, not just young professionals interested in Baltimore for its so-called "Digital Harbor."

Howard B. Hoffman


School of medicine assembles a fine, diverse student body

Recent news coverage of the University of Maryland School of Medicine's admission policy has narrowly focused on a single admission criterion ("Group accuses UM medical school of showing favoritism toward blacks," April 4).

This misses the accomplishment of the admissions committee in identifying wonderfully compassionate medical students who will serve the needs of Maryland.

As a third-year medical student, it is my impression (borne out by placement data) that the university has done an excellent job creating a diverse student body with well-qualified students.

Amy Kimball


Nursing museum features stories of courageous women

The Sun enriched us all by publishing Rona Kobell's moving account of the wartime experiences of four nurses ("Mending war history," April 2). I suspect that the article also left many readers wanting to know more about these courageous women and the thousands of other nurses who went to war.

Few realize that nurses were the only women to serve overseas during World War II. Many of them graduated from the University of Maryland School of Nursing.

These homegrown heroes are featured in the University of Maryland School of Nursing Museum, which chronicles more than a century of battlefield nursing, dating back to the Crimean War.

As their contributions become better known, perhaps military nurses will take their rightful place alongside the familiar wartime icon, Rosie the Riveter.

Dean Krimmel


The writer directs the University of Maryland School of Nursing Museum.

Second languages enhance children's ability to learn

Here are some facts regarding the letter "Kids should learn basics before a second language" (March 30).

Children pick up basic skills in a second language more easily before puberty.

At any age, second-language study leads to improved understanding of one's first language, both of its vocabulary and grammatical structure.

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