Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

February 14, 2005

Mideast peace must also meet Israel's needs

Nino Kader's column "A step toward peace" (Opinion * Commentary, Feb. 8) properly notes that the meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas "is a positive development toward securing a more stable future for the region." But Mr. Kader misses several key points.

He writes that many Palestinian Arabs "hope Mr. Sharon will implement the U.S.-backed `road map' to peace," without noting that a primary requirement of the "road map" is not just a cease-fire but the dismantling of Palestinian terrorist groups by Mr. Abbas' government.

Mr. Kader refers to a Saudi peace proposal that includes "a just settlement to the refugee problem." He doesn't mention that for many Palestinians that still means a "return" to Israel, not to a West Bank and Gaza Strip Palestine. That is, many Palestinians continue to demand not only a new Arab state but also the demographic destruction of the one Jewish state.

He claims "Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza have lived under harsh Israeli military occupation since 1967." But the standard of living in the territories rose dramatically from 1967 to 1987; the increases were disrupted by the violence of the first intifada.

Mr. Kader says an overwhelming majority of Muslims believe Islamic shrines in eastern Jerusalem, "the third-holiest site in Islam, should be under Palestinian control." But Mr. Kader doesn't note that these mosques sit on Temple Mount, the holiest physical site in Judaism.

We all hope a new, positive chapter in Arab-Israeli relations has begun, but that must rest on an accurate look at the past and on facing both sides' responsibilities and needs.

Eric Rozenman

Washington

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

At least gambling gives us a choice

I would like to respond to W. Minor Carter's remark that "gambling doesn't achieve anything. All it does is take your money" ("Ehrlich's slots plan comes out for Round 3," Feb. 10).

My feeling is: The same is true of taxes, but we don't get a say as to what or where our individual portions go.

When we choose to spend our monies on slot machines, we at least get to choose the one we want, and we can even see how we lost our money.

Pat Molesworth

Hampstead

Banning slots sends money out of state

Whether you are for or against slot machines, we must protect our own interests ("Ehrlich's slots plan comes out for Round 3," Feb. 10).

We are not preventing any person from gambling by not having slots in this state.

Every day, people from this state travel to New Jersey, Delaware and West Virginia to gamble and to play slots.

As a result, thousands of dollars that could be spent in this state and at our restaurants are spent in other states.

Peter Wicklein

Silver Spring

President is waging a war on the poor

This president is not waging a war on poverty. He is waging war against the poor ("Republicans seek ways to ease pinch of budget," Feb. 9).

But if your income is, say, $200,000 a year, be reassured - he will not rescind, or even delay, a penny of your tax cut.

Mary O. Styrt

Baltimore

City isn't entitled to federal handouts

Mayor Martin O'Malley's recent statement comparing President Bush's budget cut proposal to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks is ridiculous ("Mayor clarifies remark linking Bush cuts, 9/11 attacks," Feb. 10).

Just what right do mayors such as Mr. O'Malley have to believe the federal government owes them large sums of money? If Baltimore does not have enough money to pay for its programs, it needs to cut some programs and or raise the needed money itself.

The federal government has no obligation to bail out cities.

Jean Palmer

Baltimore

Mayor cheapens loss of Sept. 11 victims

I was stunned by Mayor Martin O'Malley's comment that the president's budget is similar to the 9/11 terrorist attacks ("Mayor clarifies remark linking Bush cuts, 9/11 attacks," Feb. 10). How can anyone make such an analogy?

Such comments cheapen the deaths of the victims, and the inflammatory rhetoric contributes little to public discourse.

Mr. O'Malley should be ashamed.

W. R. Kraus

Edgewater

Is governor seeking to run for president?

While some might view the latest controversies involving our governor as damaging to his political career, I see them as strong evidence that Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. is burnishing his credentials for higher office.

Mr. Ehrlich's decision to ban state employees from speaking to a pair of Sun writers reminds me of the nation's president, whose administration's payments to sympathetic pundits indicate he believes paid speech is better than free speech ("Ehrlich order related to writers affects `thousands,' Sun argues," Feb. 10).

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