Letters to the Editor


November 24, 2006

Two-state solution can stabilize Mideast

Nomi Morris is absolutely right: It is not enough to just reassess our policy in Iraq ("Time for new approach to Israeli-Palestinian conflict," Opinion

Commentary, Nov. 19).

The conflicts in the Middle East are linked and require a comprehensive regional approach, which must start with progress on the Palestinian-Israeli problem.

The disastrous policies of the Bush administration in the last six years - the absence of effort to bring Palestinians and Israelis together, the refusal to talk with perceived adversaries and the obvious tilt in favor of Israel - have been just that, disastrous.

The irony is that these policies have made Israel less secure as they have created more and more terrorists every day.

To end the cycle of violence which breeds further violence, the United States must lead the international community and bring the Palestinian-Israelis together to resolve their dispute based on a two-state solution - a secure Israel alongside a viable Palestinian state.

Progress on this issue would not only enhance our interests in the region but also enhance Israel's security and the hope for a peaceful resolution to other area disagreements.

The question is: Why doesn't the Bush administration understand this point?

Fariborz S. Fatemi

McLean, Va.

The writer is a former staff member for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

U.S. neutrality key to Mideast peace

On the one hand, Nomi Morris is right: It is time for the United States to engage Israelis and Palestinians in peace talks ("Time for new approach to Israeli-Palestinian conflict," Opinion

Commentary, Nov. 19).

On the other hand, Ms. Morris' analysis is lacking: Peace talks are not enough. The United States needs to become a fair mediator in this dispute.

Yet our president and most congressmen do not even pretend to be fair. Many describe themselves as "pro-Israel." They are prejudiced for Israel and against Palestinians.

Successful mediation requires neutrality. When U.S. politicians say that they are "pro-Israel," their bias undermines this neutrality and undercuts the peace process.

Those who want to achieve security for Israel through diplomacy need to model neutrality and fairness. They should declare not that they are "pro-Israel," but that they are "pro-Israel and pro-Palestine."

Acknowledging and respecting both sides' legitimate interests would enhance the prospects for nonpartisan mediation and for a satisfactory, lasting resolution of the conflict.

Bob Krasnansky

Ellicott City

Hamas, Abbas unity makes no difference

Whether or not there is a unity government for the Palestinian Authority should make little difference, with the majority Hamas party still refusing to recognize Israel and calling for its destruction ("Palestinian unity effort at a standstill," Nov. 21).

The idea of a unity government is a clever ploy by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to restore the flow of money to the Palestinian Authority without changing the objectives of Hamas about removing Israel from the map.

No one should be fooled by this strategy, as the aims of both of Hamas and of Mr. Abbas have not changed.

Nelson Marans

Silver Spring

Party punishment more than a `slap'

In response to the negative reaction by local NAACP chapter president Marvin "Doc" Cheatham to the disciplinary action by Johns Hopkins University against Sigma Chi fraternity for its inappropriate Halloween party ("NAACP head lashes out at Hopkins," Nov. 22), I would say that, certainly, the theme of the party was in poor taste by any measurement. However, the action of the university is more than a slap on the hand.

The fraternity has been placed on social probation for more than one year, is barred from holding parties and its members are required to seek diversity counseling and must hold eight cultural events.

And if Mr. Cheatham doesn't see the distinction between a party and a cultural event, I suggest he consider giving up his leadership position in an organization as important to the community as the NAACP.

Richard Birkmeyer

Ocean View, Del.

Methane may be key energy source

Kudos to The Sun for reporting on this extremely important and highly relevant technology ("Alternative energy comes with a `moo' in Vermont," Nov. 14).

Methane is a natural byproduct of the decomposition of organic materials, such as animal (and human) manure, vegetable matter and refuse or garbage.

I read some time ago about farmers in the Midwest capturing methane gas and using it to power their farm equipment.

I also have read, just recently, that some managers of garbage processing facilities are beginning to capture the methane that escapes from dumps and sell it to power-producing companies.

Just think about it for one moment: The disposal of garbage is a major problem that is growing worse, and many cities are wrestling with the issue as waste disposal is becoming more expensive and the land available for landfills is in short supply.

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