Saturday Mailbox

SATURDAY MAILBOX

September 16, 2006

Let terror sponsors pay for health care

In his column advocating funding health care for Palestinians in an effort to marginalize Hamas, Michael Morse states that until recently, "the Palestinian Ministry of Health had provided a universal insurance program," and also that before the Palestinians elected a Hamas-led government in January, "international aid paid nearly 100 percent of the operating costs" at Palestinian hospitals and clinics ("U.S. must act to end Palestinian health crisis," Opinion*Commentary, Sept. 12).

In other words, the international community provided universal health insurance for Palestinians, freeing up the Palestinians to devote their resources for rockets, guns, missiles, compensation to homicide bombers and the like.

Perhaps the Palestinian people will someday get their government to use funds donated by Iran and other sponsors of terrorism for health care.

However, large amounts of aid from the United States and the international community to the Palestinians in the past have failed to convince them that our motives are peaceful.

Mr. Morse's belief that further aid to those who fail to renounce terrorism will succeed in bribing our way out of the current mess is naive wishful thinking.

I would like to see universal health insurance.

But since we in the United States don't have universal health insurance, does it make sense that we should fund it for the Palestinians before we fund it for our own citizens?

Irwin Weiss

Baltimore

Overlooking terror Hamas has wrought

Michael Morse laments the state of health care in the West Bank and Gaza Strip ("U.S. must act to end Palestinian health crisis," Opinion

Commentary, Sept. 12).

He notes that after Hamas won the Palestinian elections, "the international community, led by the United States, responded by isolating the Hamas government. ... Most humanitarian assistance was cut."

But Mr. Morse does not remind readers that the United States, the European Union, Israel and others consider Hamas a terrorist organization because of its murders of hundreds of Israelis.

He omits the fact that international funding was halted because the Hamas-led government refused international conditions requiring it to end anti-Israel terrorism, recognize Israel's legitimacy as a state and uphold previous agreements reached by Palestinian negotiators with Israel.

Mr. Morse recommends that the United States "channel the aid through the moderate [Palestinian Authority] President Mahmoud Abbas" to demonstrate the United States' goodwill and "strengthen Fatah opposition" to Hamas.

But while Fatah may be opposed to Hamas politically, its Aqsa Martyrs Brigade terrorist wing commits crimes similar to those of Hamas.

The Hamas-Fatah unity government under discussion appears to be a ploy to renew aid to the PA while allowing Hamas to continue rejecting international aid conditions.

More illuminating than Mr. Morse's column were the four letters in The Sun last Saturday under the headline "Gazans defeat their own dreams" (Sept. 9)

As these writers noted, primary responsibility for the state of humanitarian and social services in the West Bank and Gaza Strip belongs to the Palestinians.

Eric Rozenman

Washington

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

Redbaiting distorts the land-use debate

The Sun recently featured a column by Thomas Sowell that compares environmentalists with Stalinist-era communists ("The American `nomenklatura,'" Opinion

Commentary, Sept. 7).

The fact that such a supposedly liberal newspaper would allow such base pandering to Americans' worst fears to make a point - that land protection laws are somehow bad - once again proves that the media are neither liberal nor conservative. They are simply a mass-market capitalist institution trying to make money.

Mr. Sowell seems to fail to recognize that in a democratic society, it is simple enough to vote out the politicians who have passed the sort of land-use laws he criticizes.

There is nothing communist about it - such land-use laws are a choice that some communities have made and that their elected politicians support.

What Mr. Sowell is really attempting to do here is slander those he opposes in a manner that will cause people to ignore them - to make them assume environmentalists are just a pack of "evil communists" rather than well-intentioned individuals who believe that protecting open areas is vital to the health and well-being of America as a whole.

The intent of these remarks is not to spark a meaningful discussion about land-use laws and property values.

This is much like President Bush's use of terms such as "fascist" to describe Islamic terrorists: The intent is to paint those whom the right wing dislikes with as bloody a brush as possible to poison the waters of discourse and turn Americans wholesale against those conservatives dislike.

I can only hope Americans are wise enough now to these manipulative tactics to turn away from such bitter fruit.

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