- The Washington Times - Monday, June 4, 2001

Allow Israel the option of war

In the May 28 Commentary column "Escalation of Arab anxieties," Georgie Anne Geyer continues her effort to indict Israel for all of the problems endemic to the Arab world, instead of examining the Arab rivalries and the failure of Arab dictatorships and monarchies to move into the modern world and practice tolerance for other religions.
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has proven time and again that he is both a skilled propagandist and politician as well as an unrepentant terrorist. In his manipulation of the news media, his fellow Arabs and worldwide public opinion, he has convinced the public that the extravagant offer from former Prime Minister Ehud Barak at Camp David, further sweetened at Taba, one that acceded to his maximum demands, was not sufficient and deserved a bloody response.
Mr. Arafat has returned to his bloody roots, organizing violence that now approaches open warfare against Israel in an effort to destroy that democracy. After electing Ariel Sharon to replace the failed Mr. Barak, Israel has had two choices. One would be to accede to all of the demands of Mr. Arafat and his allies and insure the destruction of Israel. The second is for the country to remove its gloves, in order to save itself, and meet the force of the Palestinian Authority with a devastating response. Instead, for the time being, it has shown a measured answer that has been insufficient to stop the constant terrorist bombings, drive-by shootings, sniping and lynchings that have killed more than 90 Israelis.
The news media have been manipulated to highlight Israels responses, instead of the constant warfare initiated by the Palestinian Authority. With no diminution in the violence, Israel will be forced to employ every weapon at its disposal to insure the existence of the nation.
For the United States and the democratic world to expect less would be a betrayal of our long-held beliefs that terror should not be rewarded. When the United States and other democracies were under the threat of extinction in World War II, their response was all-out war. Despite our pseudo-alliance with Arab countries, Israel is entitled to no less of an answer.

NELSON MARANS
Silver Spring

Simple test can resolve whether bears pose threat to humans

I have a suggestion for the legal counsel representing Robert Ooten, the Stafford man facing jail and a stiff fine for shooting a 200-pound black bear outside his home ("Stafford man faces jail time in shooting of bear," May 31).
Since, according to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, experts have determined that bears do not usually pose a threat to humans and that all one has to do is make a lot of noise, such as banging pots and pans, to make the bear go away, here is a perfect opportunity to test this theory.
Attorneys for the defendant should take prosecuting attorneys and any jurors, one at a time, to bear territory, armed only with pots and pans, and require them to remain there for one hour alone, with only a garbage can of rotting food for company. Mount a video camera with a wide-angle lens ahead of time on a nearby tree. The judge can then monitor the results. Oh and no quick rescue teams in the wings.

B.K. EAKMAN
Executive director
National Education Consortium
Washington

Admission of Baltics into NATO will curb Russias imperialist habits

Your story on the recent session of NATOs Parliamentary Assembly in Vilnius, which coincided with the opening of a radar station in Lithuania covering all three Baltic countries, points out that the main obstacle for admitting the Baltic States into NATO stems from Russias vehement opposition ("Baltic leap signals NATO readiness," May 29).
To the open-minded reader, Russias attitude is incomprehensible, since the Baltic States membership in NATO will guarantee that all is peaceful and quiet on this stretch of Russias Western border. One has to delve deep into Russias past to find an explanation.
For centuries, Russia has conquered one nation after another, adding them to its vast empire. In the case of the Baltic States, Russias imperialist ambition is disguised by legal details.
According to some Russians, the war Estonia led against the communist forces, after having broken free from Czarist Russia at the end of World War I, was a counterrevolutionary war. Consequently, the peace treaty Russia was forced to sign was a necessary misfortune.
From the Russian perspective, therefore, the annexation of the Baltic States in 1940 after the Nazi-Soviet nonaggression pact of 1939 was completely legal, as reactionary forces in the Baltic States had to be destroyed. Moreover, by 1991, the Soviet constitution had not recognized the independence of the Baltic States, which had separated from the Soviet Union.
This explains why former President Boris Yeltsin never apologized for atrocities committed against the Baltic States, as he has with regard to Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Finland.
One can argue that Russia is at present politically, economically and militarily too weak to try to undermine and overrun the Baltic States, but one should keep in mind that in desperate situations irresponsible rulers have looked for adventures in foreign countries to unite their population.
It is certainly easier to admit the Baltic States into NATO at this time than to try to dislodge the Russians once they have already set foot in the Baltics.

CAMILLA KUUS
Washington


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