Saturday Mailbox

SATURDAY MAILBOX

February 04, 2006

Project would ruin wetlands, harm bay

I am thankful that state Sen. James Brochin has introduced emergency legislation in an attempt to stop the Blackwater Resort project, a housing development proposed for the fringes of the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge ("Barbs fly in the Senate over development bill," Jan. 28).

Obfuscating the threat Hamas clearly expresses

Readers may be misled by the wording of The Sun's editorial "Hamas in power" (Jan. 27).

The editorial argues that "when [Yasser] Arafat and the Palestine Liberation Organization accepted the Oslo peace accords, they had to reform their charter and renounce their call for Israel's demise. They had to forsake armed resistance for peaceful governance. Those transitions never successfully took hold."

On April 24, 1996, the PLO's "parliament" voted to refer possible charter changes, which were unspecified, to a committee.

The charter was not amended; 28 (of 33 total) clauses calling directly or indirectly for the destruction of Israel never were rewritten. There is no new charter today.

To write that "these transitions never successfully took hold" wrongly implies that there were transitions, or serious attempts to make them.

Armed resistance - of American colonists against British imperial troops, for example - is one thing; terrorism - i.e., hijacking Israeli buses and murdering the passengers - is another.

The PLO pledged to forsake the latter.

Its various components, including Fatah, did not, and continue to sponsor terrorist attacks.

The editorial worries that "in the absence of some accommodation on Hamas' use of violence, Israel will be left to pursue its own agenda."

Accommodation? President Bush, the United Nations, the European Union, Russia and Israel all have been clear: Hamas first must end - not make some accommodation on - terrorism and recognize Israel's legitimacy.

Now that the Palestinian Arabs have endorsed an unreformed Hamas, why shouldn't Israel "pursue its own agenda," including fighting terrorism and staking its claim to disputed West Bank territories and Jerusalem?

Eric Rozenman

Washington

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

Congratulations to Trudy Rubin for once again being at the vanguard of liberal naivete - this time concerning the election of Hamas by the Palestinians ("Vote leaves no choice but to allow Hamas to prove itself," Opinion

Commentary, Jan 27).

How amusing that she referred to Hamas as an entity "which the Bush administration labels a terrorist group."

One wonders if she would also refer to a winged creature that has webbed feet and quacks as "an animal which the Bush administration labels a duck."

Ms. Rubin then went on to admit she was "fascinated" to find that the Arab businessmen, intellectuals and officials she spoke with were optimistic that Hamas would behave differently once it forms a government.

My guess is that these Arab VIPs were equally fascinated that Ms. Rubin would give an ounce of credence to such patronizing lip service.

When contemplating the possibility that leaders of Hamas may disavow their hateful and violent doctrine, one should be reminded, as Dr. Phil is wont to say, that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior - period.

Steve Couzantino

Pasadena

In its recent coverage of the Middle East, and particularly in "Hamas aims for political might" (Jan. 22), The Sun seems to be deflecting the raison d'etre of the Hamas movement.

Comments in that article include, "Hamas' intentions have become murkier in the weeks leading to ... elections."

Murkier? The Sun's neighbor down Interstate 95, The Washington Post, seems to be getting a different, clearer picture.

Its Jan. 29 article "Some Palestinians See End of Secular Dream," for instance, refers to Hamas as "an organization committed to establishing an Islamic state across territory that includes Israel."

I would hope that The Sun would also see Hamas' intentions as pretty clear.

Michael Berenhaus

Potomac

Unlike those of the political left, we conservatives were not the least bit surprised by the Hamas landslide victory.

Those of us who make a point to access the other half of the news, left unreported by liberal news organizations, were quite aware that Palestinians are inculcated from birth with the most vile brand of hatred for Jews since the Nazi era.

We were aware that speeches delivered in Arabic by ostensibly moderate Palestinian figures markedly differed from those spoken in English to the BBC and other Western organizations.

We understood that no true strategic differences separated Fatah from Hamas - only tactical differences.

And now, after distorting the truth for a generation, liberal media organizations attempt to perpetuate the canard of Palestinian desire for a peaceful two-state settlement (rejected by Palestinians at every juncture) by attributing the election results to a benign desire to root out corruption.

Imagine for one moment that Israelis overwhelmingly elected a political party whose fundamental platform was the genocidal destruction of Palestinians.

Would the liberal media be falling over themselves to justify the results as merely an Israeli desire for more efficient government?

Jeffrey S. Gulin

Baltimore

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