January 01, 2009

Rockets and bombs no path to peace

Israel has bombed Gaza in response to Hamas rocket attacks into Israel ("Israel hits Gaza again, moves tanks to border," Dec. 29). But that's only part of the story.

Hamas also shoots rockets into Israel in response to aggression, the ongoing Israeli aggression in the West Bank and Arab East Jerusalem.

Backed by Israeli soldiers and tanks, hundreds of thousands of Israelis have seized and live on Palestinian land. They steal Palestinian water. And the Israeli wall/separation barrier has confiscated thousands of acres of Palestinian land.

This kind of aggression has been going on 24 hours a day, seven days a week for years before there ever was a Hamas party. Hamas' rockets are a response to the aggression of occupation.

Some say that it's OK for Israel to defend itself against Hamas with bombs. If so, then it must also be OK for Hamas to defend itself against the Israeli occupation with rockets.

What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

But the fact is that aggression by occupation, rockets or bombs is wrong and counterproductive.

It's past time for the Israelis to instead respond to the Arab peace plan in which many Arab countries have offered Israel peace and normalized relations if it gives up stolen land and works to resolve the refugee problem equitably.

Bob Krasnansky, Ellicott City

Peace won't prevail until Hamas is beaten

The real tragedy in Gaza is that this conflict has been allowed to drone on for decades, killing people and destroying in its wake the aspirations of generations on both sides of the border. The fact that The Baltimore Sun appears to be unabashedly rooting for the Palestinians in this ugliness is dastardly in its own right but something I've grown to expect ("Tragedy in Gaza," editorial, Dec. 30).

But here's a news flash: Wars end only when there is a clear victor and a clear loser and not one minute before. And Israel will never know real peace until it takes on Hamas and not only destroys its capacity to fight but vanquishes Hamas as an organized movement.

Then there will be real peace and the people of Gaza can get on with the business of life.

Civil War Gen. William Sherman is generally known for his quote, "War is hell." But he also was the author of this less sentimental and more realistic quote: "War is cruelty. There is no use trying to reform it. The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over."

The Israelis should get on with the task before them, and the rest of the world should stay out of the conflict.

Joel Rosenberg, Ellicott City

Obama should avoid Middle East conflict

The Israeli-Palestinian confrontation is unlikely to end no matter who occupies the Oval Office ("Tragedy in Gaza," editorial, Dec. 30). I've watched this conflict flare up and then recede for decades, and I don't foresee a conclusion any time soon.

I hope the recent showdown in Gaza will not present a "serious challenge" to President-elect Barack Obama. He will have enough else on his plate when he takes office.

I doubt getting involved in this new violence would do much to restore America's reputation, and it could do us harm.

Our economy is on a dangerous course, and given that we are already embroiled in wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan, our next president should stay away from the Israeli-Palestinian unpleasantness in Gaza.

It's time the United States stopped trying to police the world.

Rosalind Ellis, Baltimore

Throw the book at abusive priests

Let's throw the book at "Father Mike," and I'm not referring to the New Testament ("Ex-pastor of St. Leo's abused boy in '70s, parish told," Dec. 30).

The enormity of what many Roman Catholic priests did to their hapless victims in the 1960s and '70s should not be minimized with the passage of time.

Just because many priests like Father Michael Salerno went on in their priestly careers to do good deeds should not obscure the fact that they committed the ultimate violation.

I have not one iota of remorse for any of these priestly predators; they should accept the full consequences of the abhorrent decisions they made decades ago.

Patrick R. Lynch, Baltimore

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