Challenge Palestinians to make peace The Sun's...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

July 23, 2002

Challenge Palestinians to make peace

The Sun's editorial "Israel's challenge" (July 12) castigates Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for his policies on West Bank settlements.

But assume for a moment that all these settlements were dismantled. Then what?

Would the Palestinians recognize Israel and change their policy of seeking to drive all Israelis into the sea?

Would the Palestinians teach their children not to hate Jews and to learn to value the true sanctity of life instead of martyrdom?

Would the 22 Arab nations make peace and conduct trade with Israel?

Would Israel be given definable, peaceful borders?

Would Palestinians punish suicide bombers and stop attacking Israeli citizens?

And, in the final analysis, what is wrong with Israelis and Palestinians living side-by-side in peace, even if they happen to be on the West Bank?

Robert Palter

Timonium

To give credibility to Palestinian "moderate" Sari Nusseibeh for calling "for an end to suicide bombings" omits pertinent facts and distorts the truth ("Israel's challenge").

Mr. Nusseibeh denounced the use of suicide bombings not for humanitarian concerns but because they were ineffective. That's a big difference.

Now if he or any other Palestinian leader denounced suicide bombings as being wrong or, more accurately, as murderous, that would be a step in the right direction.

Michael Berenhaus

Potomac

Analysis of Mideast shows an even hand

Thanks for The Sun's informative and courageous editorial "Israel's challenge" (July 12).

The editorial identified two major impediments to peace in the Middle East: expansion of Israeli settlements, especially in occupied or disputed territory, and Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory in Gaza and the West Bank.

President Bush has discussed the importance of new leadership in Palestine. He should be equally strong in discussing the importance of new leadership in Israel.

And as a longtime supporter of Israel, I very much appreciate The Sun's even-handed and informative coverage of Middle East issues.

Niel Carey

Ellicott City

Show steelworkers loyalty they deserve

Bethlehem Steel Corp.'s intention, as stated in the July 10 article "Steel workers' benefits in peril," to "slash" the benefits of pensioners is outrageous.

I certainly understand that the company, like many others, is experiencing fiscal woes, but to expect retirees to shoulder the burden punishes them for all their years with the company.

Many of these retired steelworkers are barely making ends meet with current levels of pension and medical benefits. And inevitably our health care needs accelerate during our golden years, and this is the most important time to have quality, affordable medical coverage.

The American steel industry reached its pinnacle because of the work and dedication of its current retirees. It also reached some low points, forcing the workforce to endure layoffs, pay cuts and early retirements. But throughout those trying times the steelworkers remained steadfast.

Now is the time for the company to show loyalty and appreciation to the generation that ensured the employment of today's steelworkers.

David M. Grezechowiak

Baltimore

Cover all candidates running for governor

In the interest of democracy, is it possible that The Sun could publish the names and platforms of the lesser-known candidates for governor of Maryland along with the daily dispersion of dreck from the better-financed candidates?

Mark J. Hannon

Baltimore

Overdue recognition for a fine senator

It was good to read The Sun's front-page article "Reform thrusts Sarbanes onto national stage" (July 12).

Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes seems to me to be the most under-appreciated public servant in Maryland.

As a small cog working in his campaigns many years ago, I admired his intellectual prowess, his hard work and tenacity and his lack of publicity-seeking. Now I'm happy to see him get the recognition he deserves.

I hope the Senate bill on fraud on which he has worked so painstakingly will bear some real fruit and perhaps eliminate some of the corporate greed to which we've recently been exposed.

Velva Grebe

Towson

Perry Sfikas served city with distinction

Decency is not dead. Rather than running to oppose his mentor and friend, state Sen. George W. Della, state Sen. Perry Sfikas has chosen to give up his seat in the Maryland Senate ("Sfikas ends bid for Senate," July 17).

I join many others who are stunned and wonder who could replace this honest man who is so actively engaged in fighting for what is right.

In Baltimore City, where officials offer excuses in lieu of action in response to citizens' complaints, I joined a group fighting an "enormous street-choking, view-obliterating development." I came home from a meeting of our little group and told my husband there was no doubt that we would win because Mr. Sfikas was at the meeting and told us all the ways he would help us fight.

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