Israel's struggle to defend itself merits no rebuke The...


March 19, 2002

Israel's struggle to defend itself merits no rebuke

The Sun's editorial "A line crossed?" (March 13) declares Israel's incursions into Palestinian territory an affront to pleas for "maximum restraint" and questions whether Israel has crossed some imaginary line.

How is it that over the last 17 months The Sun has never questioned whether Palestinian terrorist activities have ever crossed the line? Disco bombings, pizza shop explosions, mass shootings and daily target practice directed at Israeli cars have never been characterized as crossing the line. Neither have random shootings in pedestrian malls, bus bombings or coffee shop attacks.

Only when Israel rises up to defend itself against a regime that has sent terrorists to attack civilians on a daily basis has The Sun seen fit to describe these activities as crossing the line.

The fact that Israel has waited this long before crossing the line is evidence of remarkable restraint.

Michael Langbaum


The Sun has consistently and unwaveringly decried Israel's use of military force to quell the barbaric, cowardly attacks by Palestinians on its innocent citizens. But as usual, in the editorial "Crossing the line?" The Sun offers no solutions to these massacres, simply condemnation of the state of Israel.

But how does The Sun justify similar U.S. military action in Afghanistan? Haven't innocent Afghans been killed by indiscriminate U.S. shelling? Where is The Sun's condemnation of President Bush?

Could it be that a certain event that occurred on Sept. 11 necessitated a change in U.S. policy toward international terrorism? Could it also be that Israel's actions against fanatical assassins are totally warranted under the circumstances?

The Sun just doesn't get it: Israel is responding to Arab terrorism in exactly the same fashion as the United States is - and should not be rebuked for doing so.

Morton D. Marcus


U.S. must demand that Israel withdraw

The present occupation by Israel of Palestinian areas that Israel is forbidden to enter under the Oslo agreements has created thousands of violations of basic human rights, including the right of innocent people to life, to medical aid when wounded, to food and to freedom ("Israel mounts major offensive," March 13).

These actions by the Israeli army also threaten the elementary human rights of Israelis themselves, including the right to be free from hatred and murder - which is sure to be stimulated by the incursions.

To protect the human rights of both Israelis and Palestinians, the United States must call for an immediate withdrawal of all Israeli forces from all of the Palestinian areas they have illegally occupied and the creation of an international force to separate the Israeli army from all populated Palestinian areas.

The U.S. government must also demand that Israel immediately turn over all those captured to an international body including representatives of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent.

Ruth Crystal


State `budget cuts' just trim the rate of spending growth

With all the hand-wringing in Annapolis, I had the impression actual budget cuts were taking place. However, in "Senate panel backs cuts in spending plan" (March 10), it was revealed that "virtually all the cuts were reductions in increases that departments stood to receive."

Reductions in increases - George Orwell would be so proud.

To address this situation, postponing a puny tax cut and massive cigarette taxes are proposed. What a con game.

Dan Harvey


Improved sewers can be a bonanza for Baltimore

The problems lying behind the city's proposed consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice did not develop during Mayor Martin O'Malley's administration; they have been latent for many, many years ("City water rates likely to increase," March 5).

But these problems and a culture of deferred maintenance are a tumor on our community's wellbeing. They besmirch the reputation of our city, erode the quality of life and provide another reason for caring people to shy away from discovering what Baltimore has to offer.

Now, prodded by government agencies and community groups, we are headed toward sewer repairs that will outfit Charm City with good new plumbing by 2010. The cost is actually an economic bonanza - green development on a large scale.

And the people of Baltimore deserve a safe environment, including fishable, swimable waterways.

Richard S. Hersey


The writer is president of the Herring Run Watershed Association.

Preserve the programs that preserve our land

Tom Horton's column "When budget cuts slice too deep" (March 8) brought much-needed attention to the fact that the state's land conservation programs are facing cuts that would jeopardize our ability to reach our commitments to the protection of the Chesapeake Bay.

We call upon our lawmakers to make decisions that are visionary rather than more costly in the long run.

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