- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 19, 2007

Developments in Gaza

The excellent editorial on the current turmoil in Gaza and what this implies for the peace process between Israel and the Arab nations should be a must read not only for our State Department but also all American citizens (“A battleground in Gaza,” Monday). When two movements, Hamas and Fatah, both dipped in terrorism, have made the decision to annihilate each other, certainly their leadership is in no position to make peace with their neighbors. It is not a time for Israel to negotiate with either party.

The brutal internecine fighting between the somewhat secular and militant Islamists has caused a rift in the Palestinian Authority that can not readily be bridged, except for one faction to become victorious. For Israel, there is little difference between Hamas and Fatah, with Hamas calling for the immediate destruction of that nation while Fatah envisages the same goal in stages.

The participants in the Palestinian Authority by the recent warfare have demonstrated that they are immature and not ready to make peace.

NELSON MARANS

Silver Spring

The efficiency of sprawl

The article “Boorish behavior all the rage for drivers in District” (Page 1, Wednesday) suggests that urban sprawl might not be so bad. While city planners and zoning officials around the country perpetually sing the praises of high-density development, this article suggests that in those cities drivers are particularly ill-mannered.

As someone who travels frequently, I must admit that driving in St. Louis is substantially less stressful that it is in Miami. It is also much less stressful to drive in Dallas than in New York. While planners repeatedly tell us sprawl is not efficient, my response is always, efficient for what? If high density is efficient at increasing the percentage of ill-mannered drivers and road rage, and all the concomitant problems associated with it, then give me sprawl any day of the week.

Also note that all these boorish drivers in these dense cities are obviously not availing themselves of the fine public-transit systems available in the cities where they live, which suggests that spending billions on yet more public transit is probably not the answer.

ELLIOT. F. EISENBERG

Kensington

Fixing immigration

The immigration overhaul bill proposed in the Senate promises the clarity of Hillary health care, the efficacy of Prohibition and the fiscal integrity of Boston’s “Big Dig” roads project (“Senate immigration deal forged,” Page 1, Friday).

One wonders what happens when the millions of illegal immigrants who are already here and the millions more who will be encouraged by the citizenship provisions of the new law to enter the country simply ignore its almost unfathomable requirements?

Won’t apprehension and deportation of many more millions of scofflaws be even less viable as options than we are told they are now?

Can we afford the huge expenditures involved in implementing this absurd program, as well as paying the even more astronomical costs of the additional criminal justice, welfare, health, educational and other services that will be required when it proves to be an utter fiasco?

2008 Republican and Democratic legislative and presidential candidates must not be permitted to avoid this difficult issue by passage of this reckless measure. It should be at the forefront of every candidates’ forum and debate.

In the meantime, shouldn’t we at least try to enforce existing immigration laws?

BARRY C. STEEL

Phoenix, Md.

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All sides should be commended for reaching a long-overdue agreement on immigration reform.

However someone feels about immigration they must concede that our current system is broken, and the status quo simply can’t work anymore.

At least with the proposed legislation we will know who is coming into the country, while not closing off our borders in a more and more globalized world.

STEVEN M. CLAYTON

Ocean, New Jersey

Commonsense principles

Mary Manno (“The law and religious tests”, Letter, Monday) unfairly criticized Teri Grimwood (“Not a religious test,” Letters, May 10) and Edd Doerr (“Church, state and JFK,” Letters, May 5).

Mrs. Grimwood and Mr. Doerr simply wrote that judges and lawmakers should not put their nonconsensus personal religious views into law, a principle that most Catholic, Protestant and Jewish judges and lawmakers adhere to in our country.

Of course that does not affect laws against murder, robbery and perjury, since prohibitions against those acts are universally condemned for commonsense secular and religious reasons.

In any event, commonsense ethical principles came from human experience and preceded religious injunctions. Does anyone really think that Hebrews went around aimlessly murdering each other, stealing and perjuring before Moses came down from Mount Sinai?

As Mrs. Grimwood and Mr. Doerr pointed out, the five Catholic justices in Gonzales v. Carhart based their opinion on religious doctrine while ignoring expert medical opinion and protections of the health of women recognized by the Supreme Court for 34 years.

JOHN COLE

Hayward, Calif.

Illegals and Maryland’s golden goose

According to the editorial, “CASA does Wheaton” (Tuesday), the state of Maryland refuses to lift a finger to help the citizens of Wheaton, whose property values are falling because of home overcrowding by illegal aliens.

The state government and the Montgomery County government have rolled out the red carpet for illegal aliens and used taxpayer funds to pay for the medical, educational and social-welfare benefits of those illegals.

The state and county governments are going to kill the goose that laid the golden egg. As illegal aliens continue to flood the counties of Maryland, home values in Wheaton, as well as other towns and cities, will continue to drop. It is theproperty values in the counties that are the golden goose and the taxes paid on those property values are the golden egg.

The state and county governments are using that golden egg to pay for illegal-alien benefits. If the the state and counties refuse to do anything to help their citizens, they’ll kill the goose and income taxes will have to be raised to pay for benefits going to people who have no legal right to them. State and county governments expect Maryland taxpayers to fund illegal-alien benefits and shut up.

Taxpayers may deserve such treatment because they elected Gov. Martin O’Malley and former Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan, the best friends illegal aliens ever had.

JOSEPH R. FARRELL

Alexandria

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