Israel's fence could derail the road map

Robert Satloff is dead wrong in saying that Israel's security wall will only divide Palestinians from Israelis ("The good fence," Opinion

Commentary, July 23). As he surely knows, this modern-day Berlin Wall would also divide West Bank Palestinians from other West Bank Palestinians.

Israel can build a wall anywhere it wants inside Israel. By building this wall inside the West Bank, however, the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon gives the distinct impression that it is more concerned with grabbing land and preserving the occupation - almost certainly permanently - than promoting Israeli security.

Mr. Satloff writes that "President Bush should not find himself on the wrong side of an initiative that may actually offer a chance to produce" Israeli-Palestinian peace. But Mr. Satloff's throwback argument would place Mr. Bush on the wrong side of history.

Support for an apartheid wall has no place in the 21st century and will definitely not help promote peace.

Michael F. Brown


Robert Satloff's column about Israel's new security wall ignores the fact that the seizure of Palestinian land in the West Bank to build the wall is a direct violation of Israel's obligations under the "road map" to Mideast peace.

The road map specifically calls on Israel to take "no actions undermining trust, including ... confiscation and/or demolition of Palestinian homes and property."

If the Bush administration is serious about advancing the road map, it cannot support this wall, as putting more than 50 percent of the West Bank behind an Israeli fence would certainly amount to confiscation of property.

If Israel pursues the current route of the fence, it will demonstrate to the Palestinians a complete lack of sincerity about the road map and reaching a peace accord.

Debra DeLee


The writer is president and CEO of Americans for Peace Now.

Security wall allows Israel to seek peace

Contrary to the suggestion in the editorial "A barrier to peace" (July 21), the construction of an Israeli security fence will be an aid to peace rather than a barrier.

In the absence of such a fence, 1,500 Israelis have been murdered and 7,000 wounded since the ill-conceived Oslo accords.

With more security, Israel has shown that it is willing to negotiate an honorable peace with the Palestinian Authority, if Yasser Arafat is not involved.

Without a fence, and with continuing terrorist attacks, Israel would have no option but to await a sea change in the attitude of Palestinian Arabs before peace would be possible.

Nelson Marans

Silver Spring

Mayor belonged at candidate forum

How unfortunate that Mayor Martin O'Malley was busy knocking on doors instead of participating in the first forum for mayoral candidates ("Debate!" editorial, July 25).

In attendance at the University of Baltimore were nearly 250 young people who were hoping to take an active part in the exchange of ideas related to the race for mayor.

If the mayor cares about our young people and their future in the political process, he should have been in attendance at the University of Baltimore to share his ideas with our young people.

John A. Micklos


Sun, like O'Malley, ignores mayor's foes

The Sun's editorial "Debate!" (July 25) rightly criticizes Mayor Martin O'Malley for failing to appear at the first candidates forum at the University of Baltimore on July 22. But why didn't The Sun mention the two candidates - Andrey Bundley and A. Robert Kaufman - who not only bothered to show up but also gave the youthful crowd plenty to think about?

By ignoring these two candidates, isn't The Sun "leaving the impression that elections are preordained, and that voting is an exercise in futility" - the very thing it suggests that Mr. O'Malley would be doing by continuing to snub candidate forums?

Michael Melick


Death of Husseins doesn't justify war

Despite all of the right-wing chest-thumping over the deaths of Saddam Hussein's sons ("Sons of Hussein will no longer kill," letters, July 25), the fact remains that President Bush misled us into war.

Do the deaths of these two thugs actually justify the expense in terms of dollars, American soldiers' lives and the nation's credibility? We could have sent in paid CIA assassins for all that.

This should make any clear-thinking, moral American feel very troubled indeed.

Charles Rammelkamp


If Davis deserves recall, why not Bush?

As far as I can tell, the main reason Republicans are giving for recalling California Gov. Gray Davis is that California faces up to a $38 billion deficit ("Focus shifts to installing new Calif. governor," July 27). Haven't they noticed that the federal budget deficit has ballooned to more than $450 billion under President Bush (from a surplus of more than $200 billion)?

According to their reasoning, it is Mr. Bush, not Mr. Davis, who should be recalled.

Yet, in a perfect example of political hypocrisy, I don't think a single one of the potential Republican candidates for Mr. Davis' job has criticized Mr. Bush's economic policies.

Peter B. Levy


Snooping isn't what Christians are about

Among the millions of Christians in this country, Maureen Dowd is not going to find too many, even among the most conservative, "storming gay bedrooms in search of sodomy" ("Under siege and losing control, conservatives blame Canada," Opinion Commentary," July 22).

In truth, she's much more likely to find them serving meals in soup kitchens, volunteering in hospitals, day care centers, nursing homes and hospices or providing much-needed professional services as doctors, lawyers, teachers and social workers.

They're building houses and schools and bringing water and food to impoverished places all over the world. They're offering love and comfort to the lonely, the dying, the forgotten and the unloved in places few are willing to go.

And they're doing all these things in Christ's name, following his example without passing judgment or expecting reward or recognition.

Ms. Dowd would serve her profession better if she really knew her supposed enemy instead of slinging bigoted barbs at imaginary villains.

Corinne Will


Piano contest review just too diverting

I was late for work last Thursday, having read Tim Smith's review of the William Kapell International Piano Competition - twice ("Piano Lessons," July 24).

Please direct him to write shorter and more boring stories on work mornings.

Benjamin Feldman


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