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Published: Sunday, 5/21/2006

Even stance on Mideast is a disease

The Blade's editorials on the Israeli-Palestinian dispute are plagued by the dread disease of even-handedness. This disease drains the brain of logic, morality, and common sense, and in its place devours the brain with the overwhelming urge to focus solely on making sure that both hands are evenly balanced.

Your recent editorial on Hamas states: "Hamas would argue that the Israelis use violence against the Palestinians, thereby validating the Palestinians' use of violence against them. That logic might hold, but the results - no negotiations - are simply not acceptable. "

Huh?

The Israelis use violence to kill terrorists who seek to blow up Israeli civilians. Hamas and its allies send in those terrorists.

First simple answer: Hamas stops sending in terrorists to blow up Israeli civilians.

Second simple answer: Hamas renounces its goal to destroy Israel and kill all the Jews, and declares it seeks peace.

Those are good starters for ending the violence and beginning negotiations that have a chance at working.

Here's a thought experiment: Assume Michigan elects a terrorist government whose stated policy is to kill all Ohioans and to take over Ohio and drive us out. Assume further that Michigan starts sending in terrorists every day to blow us up. Assume further that the world begins debating how to help Michigan and how to not take sides between Michigan and Ohio.

My guess is that The Blade would be promptly cured of the dread even-handedness disease. They would instead speak simple truths: The terrorists are evil. Supporting them fuels their fire. Ohio and the world should do everything in their power to persuade them to renounce destruction and terror and, instead, to seek peace.

PETER R. SILVERMAN

Barrington Drive

The Blade's May 17 editorial, "The Hamas hurdle," sets forth two basic premises and so-called "steps" that should be taken to ensure that a negotiated settlement of the Middle East peace process takes place. The Blade has it all wrong.

The first premise of the editorial is that Hamas will change its political position on the recognition of Israel's right to exist and terrorism.

Anyone who thinks that Hamas, which is sworn to the destruction of the Jewish state, will now make "nice" with the State of Israel is just plain out of touch with reality.

The second premise is that Israel needs to find "the means" to pass on to the Hamas government the custom duties and taxes it collects for delivery "to their rightful recipients". Who are those "rightful recipients?" Are they the Hamas-sponsored suicide bombers? Perhaps they are the Hamas trained-and-financed Katusha-rocket builders? Maybe they are the "arms smugglers" from Egypt and Gaza?

No reasonable person can or should expect Israel to negotiate with and send money to Hamas.

Let the oil-rich Arab and Iranian states help the Palestinians, if they will. Let the U.N. help the Palestinians, if they will. Let the EU help the Palestinians, if they will.

I'll just bet that a huge chunk of those dinars, dollars, drachmas, and euros wind up in explosive belts, AK-47s, and Katushas aimed at Israeli teenagers, women, and children. When Hamas renounces violence, explicitly recognizes Israel's right to exist, and stops the murder, then and only then should the Israeli tax collectors turn over one shekel to Hamas.

ROLLIND W. ROMANOFF

Parliament Square

Molly Ivin's recent column on the Israel lobby completely misses the point of the uproar created by the Mearsheimer-Walt paper on the subject.

The key question is whether criticism of Israel derives from standards of behavior that are applied to all, or whether Israel - or Jewish Americans who are supportive of Israel - are being held to a special standard not applied to other nations or national ethnic groups.

If the latter is the case, then bigotry is involved. Having reviewed the Mearsheimer-Walt paper myself, I can say unequivocally that their paper fails this test in spades.

The paper's two central theses - that the Israeli lobby is more powerful than any other national lobby and that it played a central role in the U.S. invasion of Iraq - are easily refuted.

If the Israeli lobby were really so powerful, why do we continue to sell some of our most sophisticated weapons to countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, both sworn to Israel's destruction?

If the Israel lobby got us into Iraq, who got many of our allies into Iraq, such as Poland, Denmark, or South Korea?

Are there "branch offices" of the nefarious Israel lobby operating in these countries as well?

If it is the Israeli lobby that is drawing us into a showdown with Iran, why has even France, a country not noted for pro-Israel policies, also taken a hard line on this issue?

Finally, it is curious that Ms. Ivins neglects to mention who some of the biggest boosters of the Mearsheimer-Walt paper have turned out to be: neo-Nazi David Duke and Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, the latter of which, among other things, was responsible for assassinating Anwar Sadat for having made peace with Israel.

Is this the company Ms. Ivins keeps?

ROBERT VINCENT

Perrysburg

Imagine being Patricia Saunders. Your husband is abusive. You announce your intention to leave him. He attacks and stabs you. He then murders your children. On the day before Mother's Day.

Perhaps only one thing could make her pain any worse. Two days after the event, The Blade prints photos of her and her beautiful, now dead, children under the headline "Woman's Plans Sparked Violence." "Woman" means Patricia Saunders, of course.

Her plans. She incited him.

This happened because of something she did.

Yes, her pain could be worse.

The Blade's headline writers found the only way to make that happen.

My colleagues and I who work with issues of domestic violence wait for the day when public discourse is framed not in terms of how victims "provoke" perpetrators, but in terms of how abusers (including those whose violence extends to murder) choose their behavior.

The events at the Saunders home were not "sparked" by Patricia's plans. Patricia Saunders was stabbed because her husband chose to attack her. Lauren and Jacob Saunders are dead because their father chose to murder them. He could have chosen not to.

But that wouldn't have made a very juicy headline, would it?

MARY KRUEGER

Director, Women's Center

BGSU, Bowling Green

I agree with your May 17 editorial that we can't let our guard down in regard to alcohol and drug use.

It is always good news, as reported with the recent ADAS survey, that smoking, alcohol, and other drug use by grade school and high school students has decreased.

Most would be shocked to hear our patients at COMPASS talk about beginning to smoke or drink at 10 or 12 years old.

Delaying that first use is key to what could happen to that person in regard to possible addiction later in life.

This report is a good sign. As a society we can't relax. Parents, public officials, and schools need to continue to work together to make those numbers even better next year.

BILL SANFORD

President & CEO

Compass Corporation for Recovery Services

For 50 years we've had problems with the Mexican border. Now, just in time for elections (with Republicans polling at astonishing lows), it's a national emergency and we've got to do something. Anything!

There's no time to research it or discuss it rationally - just do it now. And while we're at it, we need a constitutional amendment to prohibit anyone from singing the national anthem in Spanish. I guess we must be tired of the gay-marriage issue and we can't get the new Iran war cranked up fast enough. Karl Rove at work in his new job?

BOB BEACH

Maumee



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