Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 15, 2002

Bulldozers are proper tools for fighting terror

The Sun's article "Feared `beasts' in Mideast" (Oct. 4) looks through the wrong end of the telescope.

Yes, it was tragic for Hamad Shatat and his family that their home was bulldozed by the Israeli army. But while the article says the home was built without a permit, it does not note that increased illegal construction by Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip has been part of the Israeli-Palestinian confrontation for years.

The article says the Shatats claim permission is difficult to obtain because of travel restrictions. It omits that Israel imposed those restrictions after repeated terrorism.

The article does not mention that home demolitions on the West Bank were resumed as a limited response to renewed suicide bombings, a response that would not affect Palestinian society at large.

The article also does not mention that the Israeli Supreme Court, in an appeal by Palestinians, prohibited a demolition in the Gaza Strip. Or that the court did allow demolitions in cases of terrorists and families complicit in terrorism.

The result so far? More than 30 terrorists have turned themselves in or been turned in by relatives -- saving countless lives and preventing a number of likely demolitions.

The article refers -- without context -- to the demolition by bulldozer of blocks in the Jenin camp that "quickly brought the battle to an end."

In April, 23 Israeli soldiers and 52 Palestinians (mostly terrorist gunmen) died in fighting in the closely built Jenin camp. The terrorists based themselves in a civilian area and booby-trapped many houses; using bulldozers likely saved lives on both sides.

Sun readers deserve the whole story.

Eric Rozenman

Washington

The writer is Washington director for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.

Give Israel tools to promote peace

The Sun's coverage of the deplorable acts of the Israeli army using American-made bulldozers was timely and accurate ("Feared `beasts' in Mideast," Oct. 4).

The Palestinian people have been made homeless at the hands of an American industry. The Palestinians have been killed and injured by American weapons -- F-16 jets and Apache helicopters. And we wonder why the Palestinians don't trust us as a fair and moderate mediator?

Israel must stop bulldozing houses and start dismantling its settlements.

America must influence Israel toward peace instead of supplying its military for war.

Yara Cheikh

Baltimore

Showing hypocrisy on state's gun laws

I have read over and over Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s statement regarding the sniper shootings ("Ehrlich shocked by `senseless shootings,'" Oct. 4). I was hopeful I would find that, at this time of terrible tragedy for Maryland, I had somehow misjudged the man's words. But try as I might, I cannot find this to be the case.

Mr. Ehrlich talks about Maryland's "restrictive and progressive gun laws" and says he "will call for the full and swift enforcement of every single, relevant law on our books." Are these the same laws he voted consistently against as a member of our House of Delegates, laws that passed over his strong opposition?

Are these the same laws that he says he would like to review to see what's working and what's not?

And now, as ordinary people become targets in our streets and children are gunned down in front of their schools, Mr. Ehrlich finds these laws "relevant"?

That surely must be the definition of a hypocrite.

Ginni Wolf

Glen Burnie

The writer is executive director of Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse.

Gun control laws can't stop snipers

The writer of the letter "Sniper makes some think of gun control" (Oct. 10) argues that the existence of the Montgomery County sniper justifies maintaining tough gun control laws.

I see the issue somewhat differently. While I don't dispute the importance of licensing and background checks, I think the Montgomery sniper situation validates what the National Rifle Association has been saying for years and years: No matter how many laws you pass, bad people will still obtain guns.

You can pass 10,000 laws but if you can't enforce the ones you already have on the books, passing more laws is merely window dressing.

Douglas B. Hermann

Carney

Push inspections, not war with Iraq

We should not strike Iraq unless we know for sure the itchy finger of Saddam Hussein is hovering over a nuclear, chemical or biological trigger.

Yet George J. Tenet, President Bush's own director of central intelligence, said that Mr. Hussein is, for now, "drawing a line short of" using weapons of mass destruction to launch terrorist assaults ("CIA report on Iraq opens Congress talks," Oct. 9).

But if Mr. Hussein thinks we are about to attack, he "probably would become much less constrained in adopting terrorist actions," according to Mr. Tenet.

So, for now, we would be foolish to attack. It might provoke the worst possible result.

I say, "Make inspections, not war."

Eric Stewart

Catonsville

Ecological damage can't be reversed

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