Letters To The Editor


October 06, 2003

Israel needs security wall to protect citizens

The Sun's one-sided opinion on the wall being built in Israel to protect Israelis from more Palestinian terrorist attacks fails to understand the basic right of the country to protect its citizens ("Jerusalem and the wall," editorial, Sept. 30).

Israel's case for locating the wall east of Ariel is a strong one. I have been there myself and seen how vulnerable it is to Palestinian attacks. With its 18,000 inhabitants and a student body of some 7,000 attending the College of Judea and Samaria in Ariel, Israelis in this area are as much in need of protection as residents of other Israeli towns.

And the Palestinians have only themselves to blame for the wall. The Sharon government has been the most unenthusiastic about the wall. But each and every murder by a Palestinian suicide terrorist contributed to the government's decision to build the wall. Now Palestinian cries of anguish over the wall and its location seem like a burglar's complaint that bars on the windows of residential housing deface the surroundings.

The wall remains one of the unilateral measures necessary to save Israeli lives - and an issue on which its government should not give in.

And just as no one would have dared dictate to America how to protect its citizens after the destruction of the World Trade Center, so Israel's best friend, the United States, should defer to Israel's position on this issue.

Rabbi Chaim Landau


The writer is rabbi of Ner Tamid Congregation.

The editor who asserts that Israel's erection of a wall in Jerusalem is "plain wrong" would do well to consider that just as walls go up, they can come down when the political scenario changes. But the lives of hundreds of men, women and children destroyed by suicide bombers can never be restored.

What is just "plain wrong" is for The Sun to judge Israel by a biased double standard in which any restrained, defensive action it takes to protect its citizens and right to exist is condemned, while the Palestinian incitement to racial hatred and violence, the ensuing murder of innocents, and the gleeful celebration of loss of precious life is somehow "understood" and passed over with a slap on the wrist.

Rosemary Warschawski


Use the wind and sun to produce electricity

A bold effort is needed to wean us from our over-reliance on fossil fuels ("Energetic sell-out," editorial, Oct. 1). Unfortunately, Congress stripped provisions from the federal energy bill that would promote the development of clean, renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power.

Currently, Maryland utilities generate 95 percent of our electricity from fossil fuels and nuclear power. Burning fossil fuels for electricity causes nearly one-third of the state's smog-producing pollution.

This pollution threatens public health, the environment and the Chesapeake Bay. And no safe disposal method exists for radioactive materials from nuclear power plants.

Congress is not moving us toward a safe and clean energy future, but we can and must do better on the state level.

We urge Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and our state legislators to require that we increase our use of clean, renewable energy sources so that they produce 7.5 percent of the state's electricity by 2013.

This will put Maryland on the right path to achieve cleaner air, long-term price stability, more reliable electricity and economic growth.

Gigi Kellett


The writer is an energy advocate for the Maryland Public Interest Research Group.

War in Iraq makes the region less stable

Thomas L. Friedman's column "Two doses of reality for the American public" (Opinion * Commentary, Sept. 30) refers to countries who do not support our efforts in Iraq as "free riders." His arguments simply do not hold water.

What is the great benefit to the world, or the United States, for that matter, of having deposed Saddam Hussein? He obviously had no weapons of mass destruction, and was in a position to threaten no one. The first Persian Gulf war, years of sanctions and renewed inspections had done a good job of containing his regime.

Further, it could be argued that our policies in Iraq have actually made the region less stable and hurt our allies. Since France and Russia, in particular, were more willing to work with Mr. Hussein, they were in a position to benefit from business dealings with Iraq, if and when sanctions were lifted. Now the United States calls the shots..

In his piece, Mr. Friedman demonstrates merely that he is an apologist for the Bush administration's imperialistic, big business-oriented policies.

Tom Heiland


Curran is right to reject slots

Thank God state Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. has the integrity and strength to tell the truth and oppose the special interest groups pushing to legalize slot machines in Maryland ("Downside of gambling is focus of convention," Sept. 28).

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