Israel has right to defy demands of arrogant U.S. The...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 16, 2002

Israel has right to defy demands of arrogant U.S.

The Sun's editorial "U.S. credibility at stake" (April 9) asks, "What is it about the phrase withdraw `without delay' that the Israeli prime minister doesn't understand?"

It's probably the hypocrisy of that statement - coming from an administration that has sent troops halfway around the world to wage a massive military campaign in retaliation for a single day's terrorist attack, while Israel, after months of restraint in the face of repeated barbaric suicide attacks, is challenged for exercising self-defense against terrorists operating from Palestinian Authority havens just miles from its largest cities.

Or perhaps it is the sheer arrogance and immorality of an administration so bent upon appeasing Arab dictators to cobble together a coalition comprised of the lowest common denominator that it instructs the one democratic country in the region to refrain from meeting its moral obligation to protect its citizens.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is evidently not going to win any popularity contests in Washington, but he should be admired for his refusal to abdicate his responsibility to protect the lives of his countrymen merely to satisfy the agenda of others.

Aron U. Raskas

Baltimore

Exactly what relationship of fealty does the prime minister of Israel owe the president of the United States that our commander-in-chief presumes to issue instructions that Ariel Sharon must obey?

The electorate in a democracy might claim some directive powers over their representatives but, if I am not mistaken, Israel is sovereign relative to the United States.

Certainly the United States can bandy about its power, which is unchallenged, and can, if it wishes, threaten to harm Israel if it does not do our bidding - but that sort of behavior should be seen for what it is: hubris and outright bullying of a sovereign nation.

This is not about the United States. It is about Israel's security and survival.

Just who do we think we are?

Rabbi Avram Israel Reisner

Baltimore

Israel's military commits genocide

Over the past 15 months, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the Israeli military have killed more than 1,500 Palestinian men, women and children, the majority of them innocent civilians.

In view of the most recent invasion of the West Bank by the Israeli military, the bombing and shelling of Palestinian refugee camps, the use of Palestinians as human shields during military raids of Palestinian homes, the imprisonment of more than 900 Palestinians and the slaughter of innocent Palestinian civilians, Mr. Sharon and the Israeli military personnel involved in these barbarous acts should be charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity.

What Mr. Sharon and his military have done to Palestinians over the past 18 months is the essence of genocide.

Edward G. Shlikas

Bel Air

Both sides in conflict are right, wrong

While there is considerable validity to Irwin Mansdorf's argument, for the sake of fairness Mr. Mansdorf should also address the psychology associated with the humiliation of having every aspect of your life and livelihood controlled by soldiers and politicians with no stake in the result ("Terrorist behavior must go unrewarded," Opinion Commentary, April 11).

He should also address the psychology of hearing that Israel wants peace while it continues to build and expand settlements, exclusive roads and water works in the areas that supposedly are soon to be traded for peace.

The Palestinians and Israelis both have grievances. The Israelis should be free from terrorist attacks on innocent civilians. The innocent civilians on the Palestinian side should be free from humiliation and having their homes and property destroyed.

As with many conflicts, there are two points of view. In this case, both sides are right - and wrong.

Bob Sartwell

Pasadena

Assembly must face our insurance woes

The Sun's editorial "Time to trust process in CareFirst's conversion" (April 5) provides false reassurance to those who hope that the health insurance situation will improve here in Maryland. Merely preventing the conversion will do nothing to reverse CareFirst's dumping of its Medicaid and Medicare enrollees, our most vulnerable populations.

I hope the insurance commissioner will make the correct decision and reject the conversion. This action, however, would allow the legislature to, in effect, pass on its responsibility to the insurance commissioner to address our health insurance woes.

State Sen. Thomas L. Bromwell was brutally honest when he stated that "the General Assembly has a terrible record of getting insurance to poor people" ("Jews calls bill a threat to insurer," April 4). The Assembly must stand up to its responsibilities instead of passing the "hot potato" to the insurance commissioner.

P. Burns

Columbia

Closing youth jails may be unrealistic

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