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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 29, 2009 at 4:30 PM

Israel and Palestine

Aid to Israel should depend on Gaza reconstruction

Your April 26 op-ed by U.S. Reps. Brian Baird and Keith Ellison, “Time for U.S. to insist on real change in Israeli-Palestinian relations” [Opinion], is very timely.

Despite Israel’s efforts to keep foreign journalists out of Gaza during its war on that territory, there have been multiple reports of the destruction wrought there. Three months after Israel’s destruction of much of the infrastructure of Gaza homes, clinics and schools, the civilians of Gaza continue to live in the most appalling conditions and lack basic necessities.

Israel, which controls all entry into Gaza, refuses to allow reconstruction material into Gaza. If a people has been subjected to relentless attacks that have destroyed its infrastructure and homes and is refused all means to reconstruct, one must begin to question how it will ever lead to peace in the Middle East. Three-quarters of a million of the residents of Gaza are children.

For the sake of humanitarian justice and for the sake of U.S. security, it is urgent that this administration condition aid to Israel on Israel’s permitting reconstruction of Gaza. It is against all reason to believe peace can be achieved otherwise.

— Elaine Loughlin, Port Townsend

Prosperity, peace come only with justice

Thank you for publishing the op-ed by Congressmen Baird and Ellison that told of their recent visit to Gaza. On-the-ground observations provide the best perspective of the plight of the Palestinian people.

I accepted the Israeli propaganda until I lived in Jordan and visited the West Bank and Israel; then my perspective changed 180 degrees. Historically, the U.S. has provided unquestioning moral and financial support for Israeli policies, while the Palestinians endure ever-harsher living conditions. U.S. aid should be linked to changes in Israeli policy — talk and promises without change is getting old.

I’m not sure if I should laugh or cry at David Brumer’s propaganda piece [“No simple answers,” Opinion, guest commentary, April 24]. I agree that the area is “rife with hateful ideologies and genocidal intentions,” but my observation is that the Israeli government and the educational system are fostering them in equal measure to Hamas. Brumer’s desire that “all peoples of the Middle East can live together in harmony, prosperity and peace” can only happen when the Palestinian people are given some justice and an opportunity to share in the prosperity.

The Palestinian fringes of hate are only being fueled by the treatment of the Palestinian majority. It is in Israel’s best interest to promote justice for all and to move toward a viable two-state solution.

— Shirley Carlton, Spokane

The courage to speak up

Thank you for publishing Huwaida Arraf’s articulate piece about the systematic abuses of peaceful Palestinians by Israel’s government and military [“Heed voices calling for justice for Palestinians,”, guest commentary, April 24]. We Americans need to know the truth about why we are so widely distrusted in the Middle East.

If we want peace and secure oil supplies, then we need to treat all Arabs and Muslims as being entitled to the same civil rights that we enjoy in America. We must stop arming, financing and protecting the Israelis while they take land at gunpoint from the Palestinians, systematically destroy their economy, brutalize all who oppose them in this process and then cynically blame the victims.

I am sure you will hear howls of protest from those who refuse to believe the truth or who wish for others not to see it. Thank you for having the courage to speak up. Our free press is the pillar of our democracy.

— Noel Sanborn, Palo Alto, Calif.

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