Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 14, 2004

Gaza pullback hurts Israel, U.S. in the long term

It was heartening to see a Sun editorial recognize the dangers inherent in a Gaza withdrawal plan that is being used by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to cement Israel's control over a large part of the West Bank and sabotage plans for a Palestinian state (`The real Gaza plan," Oct. 8).

The irony of such a plan is that while it might give Israel short-term security, the long-term losers would be not only the Palestinians but also Israel and the United States.

The Palestinians would obviously see their hopes for a viable, independent state dashed.

Israel would find itself further isolated in the international community, facing a more radicalized and embittered Palestinian population and growing demands for a one-state solution.

As Israel's closest ally, the United States would face even more violence and hostility from a growing list of enemies in the region and the wider Muslim world.

Rafi Dajani

Washington

The writer is executive director of the American Task Force on Palestine.

Let Palestinians show they can rule

The Sun insists that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's unilateral Gaza withdrawal plan is a subterfuge, some sort of sham ("The real Gaza plan," editorial, Oct. 8).

In fact, perhaps it should be seen as a test to see if the Palestinians can govern a real mini-state with any effectiveness. This seems unlikely given the Palestinians' poor performance with any type of responsibility over the past decade, not to mention their legacy of terrorism.

And exactly why do the Palestinians even deserve a state?

It seems to me statehood must be earned through responsibility and law and order. The Palestinians, of all the world's so-called stateless peoples, seem the least deserving, yet the world constantly insists they get a state.

The Kurds, on the other hand, have shown not only that they deserve a state (being a truly distinct people) but also that they can govern themselves wisely and effectively. Nonetheless, they are denied statehood because some feel Iraq must not be broken up or because Turkey (a key U.S. ally) does not want a Kurdish state.

Well, Israel does not want a Palestinian state, and for good reason.

What the Palestinians do deserve is not to be ruled by Israel. Let them see what they can do with Gaza - a contiguous piece of land with a shoreline.

The West Bank is another story. Israel has a right to adjust the borders for its security, and what is left should be combined into some sort of confederation with Jordan.

Rather than constantly badger our friend and ally Israel to make more and more semi-suicidal concessions to the Palestinians, it is high time the U.S. government pressured the Palestinians and Jordan to reach some accommodation to give the Palestinians what they want, self-rule, and the region what it needs, stability.

Mark Hotz

Pikesville

New tax cuts serve narrow interests

Reading who will get the breaks from the latest $137 billion tax cut passed by the Senate, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry ("Senate passes $137 billion cut in business tax," Oct. 12): "a $27 million tax break to encourage foreigners to gamble at U.S. horse and dog racetracks"; "an $11 million reduction in excise taxes on fishing tackle boxes"; "$9 million in tax breaks for U.S. makers of bows and arrows"; and the list goes on.

What happened to health care, the cost of prescriptions, unemployment, housing and the list of real concerns goes on? What were these senators thinking of besides their pockets and their friends? Do they even care about the American people?

Kathy Riley

Baltimore

Profit-based system sparks shortages

I wish I could say it is unbelievable that this country is experiencing an acute shortage of flu vaccine, but unfortunately it was inevitable ("Vaccine allotted by risk for flu," Oct. 13).

Why? Not because the virus itself is unpredictable, but because the vaccine does not offer the huge profit returns of patented medications. For this reason, most pharmaceutical companies have lost interest in vaccine production.

This shortage is symptomatic of an American health care system based on profit rather than universal coverage or good public health policy.

Perhaps the billions lost in productivity to American businesses this year because of health issues will stimulate changes that the morbidity of American citizens has not.

Nora E. Connell

Freeland

Leaders lack virtues that the Army instills

It was refreshing to read Cal Thomas' column about Daniel Dobson, a young man who volunteered for service in Iraq ("Daniel goes into lion's den to answer the call of duty," Opinion

Commentary, Oct. 6).

Mr. Thomas emphasizes the virtue of "selfless service" that Mr. Dobson embraces. Mr. Thomas also notes all those Army virtues which Mr. Dobson's service represents: "loyalty, duty, respect, honor, integrity, personal courage."

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