Letters To The Editor


December 18, 2007

U.S. must embrace the forces for peace

Thank you for publishing Mustafa Barghouthi's lucid, positive assessment of the "Prerequisites for peace" (Opinion

Commentary, Dec. 13) in the Middle East.

He gently demonstrates that Israel has been more of an obstacle to peace over the years than the Palestinians.

The key problem is that Israel has not merely occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem pending some sort of peace agreement but has been moving in to stay with armed communities that absolutely exclude the notion of living with Palestinians as equals.

Most Israelis are ready to leave the West Bank and to share Jerusalem, but their government keeps backing settler aggression and expansion.

What U.S. citizens need to realize is that our government's massive, carte blanche support for the Israeli government is the main reason that these aggressive settlers have been able to dominate Israel's West Bank policy, making all peace talks a sham.

The hopeful point is that a change on the part of our government could make an immediate positive difference and empower nonviolent, democratic peacemakers on both sides.

Steve France

Cabin John

Partition offered Palestinians a state

In his column "Prerequisites for peace" (Opinion

Commentary, Dec. 13), Mustafa Barghouthi states, "It behooves Israel to hasten toward a two-state solution."

But he must know very well that the United Nations opted in 1947 for a partition of the territory into two separate states.

Had the Palestinian leadership decided at that time to accept the plan, as the Jewish leadership did, Palestine would now be celebrating its 60th year of statehood.

Leo Bretholz


Make Hamas a part of the peace process

Mustafa Barghouthi ignores the elephant in the living room when discussing what is necessary for a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians: Hamas must be part of the process - it must participate in negotiations - if it is to be part of the solution ("Prerequisites for peace," Opinion

Commentary, Dec. 13).

Continuing to isolate and demonize Hamas ensures that Hamas will continue its violence to disrupt the peace talks and that it will oppose compromises that Palestinians will likely have to make concerning borders and their right to return to their homes in Israel.

Including Hamas in the process would give its leaders the opportunity to appreciate Israelis' perspective and could help incline them to broaden their own.

Exclusion of Hamas is a poison pill that undermines the possibility of peace and guarantees Israel an enemy and the continuation of hostilities.

Israelis and Palestinians deserve better.

Bob Krasnansky

Ellicott City

The writer is president of Marylanders for a Free Palestine and Secure Israel.

Most will support a compromise plan

Thank you for publishing Mustafa Barghouthi's column "Prerequisites for peace" (Opinion

Commentary, Dec. 13), which provided a Palestinian perspective on a justice and peace solution to the conflict in Israel-Palestine.

His focus is on compromise - i.e., Palestinians' readiness to accept 23 percent of historic Palestine for their state if Israel is ready to end the military occupation and formally recognize Palestinians' rights to freedom, equality and a state of their own.

I would think that the vast majority of Israelis, Palestinians and Americans would support such a solution.

Howard Horowitz

New Rochelle, N.Y.

Sharing floor plan can add to safety

I have an additional fire safety suggestion: Families who live in individual homes in residential areas should share information with their neighbors so that the layout of the bedrooms is known to someone outside the house ("Sounding the alarm," Dec. 16).

When firefighters respond to a house fire, as they did in Roland Park two weeks ago, they first want to know who is in the house and where the bedrooms are.

Lives can be saved if a neighbor can give this information to the firefighters promptly.

Susan W. Talbott


Program questions teachers' abilities

How many times has the mantra of a questionable educational reform been, "It is good for the children"?

And who are those who use this mantra? Usually they are not teachers in the classroom.

Here is a seemingly radical idea: Let's empower the classroom teacher.

Whether or not this is the program's intent, the Articulated Instruction Module program, or AIM, brings into question the ability of a teacher to perform his or her job ("Discord over progress reports," Dec. 11).

My question is: Why doesn't the Baltimore County Board of Education - or the general public, for that matter - listen to the teachers when we say AIM is a questionable program? Why is it that our concerns are routinely dismissed?

Ironically, we teachers are now better trained, more aware of learning styles and better able to put this knowledge into practice in our classes than at any other time.

Yet the cry for more accountability from teachers continues - as if we teachers are insufficiently prepared.

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