- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 7, 2003

Subjunctive peace in the Middle East

I congratulate The Washington Times for its editorial (“Critical steps toward peace,” Thursday) highlighting the promising points in the latest Israeli-Palestinian peace discussions, and also for its concluding admonition to contemplate it as “subjunctive” (i.e., in a hypothetical or contingent mood). Properly so.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas is currently trying to “persuade” (negotiate with) Hamas terrorists to declare a hudna (i.e., a temporary cessation of terror) during his peace deliberations with the Israelis.

Further, this hudna is then supposed to segue into a sulha (i.e., a peace agreement satisfactory to Hamas). If the sulha does not appeal to Hamas, then the hudna will evaporate. This will then return matters to the all-too-familiar Hamas suicide bombings and incarnadine terrorist forays.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Mr. Abbas will talk and make “promising” public declarations, while the basic negotiations will proceed sub rosa between Mr. Abbas and Hamas. This distills into Israel actually negotiating with Hamas through Mr. Abbas, the veiled intermediary.

This type of disguised bargaining with terrorists traduces our oft-declared war on terror. Consequently, it is a nonstarter, and to allow it to proceed as planned, without a major overhaul, will desecrate our moral and ethical duty to abjure dealing with terrorists, and will make a mockery of our so-called war on terror.

In this instance, we know who, and where, the terrorists are. Is it not our pledged responsibility to annihilate them and their infrastructures as an indispensable prerequisite to establishing a genuinely durable peace in the region?

To do otherwise would cast President Bush as a pitifully risible anti-terror world leader.

DAN METZMAN

Silver Spring

Times wrong about Md. bill, lawmaker says

My legislation to prohibit discrimination by contractors doing business with Maryland was not an attempt to sink Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.’s faith-based initiative, despite the mischaracterization of it as such in Monday’s article in The Washington Times (“Ehrlich’s religious initiative still on,” Metropolitan).

Maryland law already requires that each state procurement contract prohibit discrimination in any manner by the contractor against an employee or applicant for employment because of sex, race, age, color, creed or national origin.

This past session, I introduced House Bill 425, which would also prohibit such discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, genetic information or disability. Maryland’s civil rights law exempts religious institutions from the prohibition on discrimination against people in the workplace because of their sexual orientation. My legislation did not. The reason:

When a private institution or company uses the state’s money, the government has the right to attach conditions. That is what the Supreme Court said in Rust v. Sullivan, when it upheld a law that prohibits doctors who receive federal family planning funds from “engaging in activities that encourage, promote or advocate abortion as a method of family planning.”

If my bill was designed to sink the governor’s faith-based initiative, someone should have told him. His administration took no position on this legislation.

Had your reporter spoken to me before writing the story, its mistaken description of my legislation could have been avoided.

SAMUEL I. ROSENBERG

Delegate

Baltimore

14th Amendment and colleges

In his column, “Farewell to rights” (Commentary, Thursday), Paul Craig Roberts suggests possible Supreme Court outcomes on the issue of racial quotas, one of which is that white Americans might not be protected by the Constitution’s 14th Amendment. He fails, however, to point out an obvious ruling: that the 14th Amendment need not apply in this situation, because no one has a constitutional right to be accepted to an academic institution, regardless of merit.

The 14th Amendment reads in part: “No State shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” One, therefore, cannot argue a 14th Amendment violation without also mentioning which law is not being universally applied.

To my knowledge, Michigan has no law stipulating that its publicly funded universities must accept the most qualified applicants.

GREG PARKER

Alexandria

Revolting, untruthful column

Zalman Shoval’s libelous Op-Ed column (“Human shields,” Wednesday) about International Solidarity Movement (ISM) members Rachel Corrie and Tom Hurndall could not be more revolting or untruthful.

To say that “Mr. Hurndall and Corrie belonged to a terrorist front organization” is simply beyond the pale. Sir, have you no shame? Is there no limit to the crimes you are willing to excuse?

The blame for the death of Ms. Corrie and the serious injury to Mr. Hurndall (not to mention American Brian Avery, who was wounded when he was shot through the mouth while his hands were up) can only be placed squarely on the shoulders of the government Mr. Shoval advises. They were committed in cold blood by Israeli military forces, and now the Israeli government, having learned since its invasion of Jenin that it can whitewash its human rights abuses, is doing its utmost to avoid responsibility by blaming the ISM through lies, innuendo and distortion. Enough.

Fortunately, thousands of Americans, Palestinians and Israelis are still willing to work together nonviolently to bring about a just peace. Mr. Shoval may despise their efforts, but in the end they will succeed because the subjugation of one people by another is fundamentally wrong.

The road map offered by the Bush administration, if successful, will stop this subjugation by ending the occupation.

Ms. Corrie, Mr. Hurndall and the ISM have brought Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people to light. That clearly enrages Mr. Shoval, just as it enraged white supporters of Jim Crow when “outside agitators” went South to combat segregation through nonviolent direct action.

MICHAEL F. BROWN

Executive Director

Partners for Peace

Washington

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide