- The Washington Times - Monday, September 22, 2003

‘One-roof’ strategy could be a Trojan horse

We broadly agree with the remarks by the Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou (Embassy Row column, Thursday) that “there is a chance for Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots to live together under one roof in Cyprus and within the European Union.” However, this can only be possible if the Greek-Cypriots accept the Turkish-Cypriots as their co-equals in a new partnership; honor the agreed principle of “bizonality,” which means the two peoples will live side-by-side until they learn to trust each other; and agree to synchronize the membership of Cyprus in the European Union with that of Turkey, as required by the relevant Cyprus Agreements and Treaties of 1960, so that the critical Greco-Turkish balance over Cyprus is maintained.

These safeguards are necessary, because the Turkish-Cypriots, in view of what they have gone through in the recent past at the hands of the Greek-Cypriots, are extremely wary of the possibility that any new “one-roof” structure in Cyprus could turn out to be a Trojan horse for them.



Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus


In appreciation of a friend of books

Today, I read the article, “In appreciation,” dedicated to Colin Walters (Books, Aug. 31). I now know why I have always enjoyed your books section over all the others. Just last week, I was commenting to a friend that he should read your book review section, as it is so much more interesting than the New York Times review magazine, which always seems to be filled with junk books. Mr. Walters’ true love of writing, history and books always sparkled on his page. I would say he was the best, and we all mourn his passing.

I had almost quit reading, until I began following Mr. Walters’ reviews, some 10 or so years ago. I have since read dozens of his selections, and that has added immensely to my later years. Please pass my personal best to his family and The Times family.


Frankford, Del.

On Sharansky and human rights

Reading Natan Sharansky’s description of Israel as a great defender of human rights (“Sharansky says Israel gets bad rights rap,” Nation, Thursday), I realize he probably was not imprisoned in Russia for speaking the truth, but more likely for grossly violating it.

It is strange that although Israel has violated some 60 U.N. resolutions and every paragraph in the Geneva Conventions, Mr. Sharansky still insists that it is a champion of human rights. Why should the standards of international law apply to Israel when Mr. Sharansky knows better? Stranger still, all of the Muslim world, and most of Europe, too, is repelled by the very name of Israel because of its widely witnessed brutality toward the Palestinians, yet Mr. Sharansky says we should be “proud Jews” because Israel is a “unique example in [the] history of democracy.” Shall we also be proud of Mr. Sharansky’s veracity, because he alone seems to know the truth about Israel in spite of its “bad rap”?

Israel is fortunate to have such a passionate spokesman — no doubt the student who, at his last speaking engagement, pitched a cream pie in his face merely misunderstood the profundity of Mr. Sharansky’s insight.


New York

• • •

In Julia Duin’s otherwise informative article, “Sharansky says Israel gets bad rights rap,” Miss Duin writes:

“Mr. Sharansky defended the April 2003 Israeli offensive on the West Bank town of Jenin, which claimed the lives of 23 Israeli soldiers and 54 Palestinians, all but two of them terrorists, [Natan Sharansky] asserted. Palestinian spokesmen have said hundreds of civilians perished in the assault.”

Mr. Sharansky, a member of the Israeli Knesset (parliament) is not the only source denying Palestinian Arab allegations of a massacre at Jenin. Secretary of State Colin Powell told Congress shortly after the 12-day battle that he saw “no evidence that would suggest a massacre took place.” With no massacre to investigate, the United Nations disbanded a fact-finding mission to Jenin.

Human Rights Watch and Physicians for Human Rights — neither reflexively pro-Israel — determined there was no massacre. So did the Israel Defense Forces, which during the fighting delivered truckloads of food to the refugee camp and allowed Arab civilians to leave.

The “Jenin massacre” myth, a new link in the old Palestinian propaganda chain, was discredited even while being forged. If The Times thought it important to resurrect it, then the overwhelming evidence to the contrary also should have been noted.


Washington Director

Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America

Fairfax, Va.

Perks for parks?

Paul Craig Roberts makes some interesting points about outsourcing much of the federal government (“Outsourcing unlimited,” Sunday), but he is a bit off base in saying that President Bush wants to privatize the National Parks Service. Mr. Bush’s competitive sourcing proposal should not be confused with privatization, in that the federal government would still manage the national parks (and other agencies) while information technology, maintenance and waste collection might be outsourced by each agency. The government estimates that 850,000 federal jobs qualify as “commercial activities” and qualify for competitive sourcing.

Mr. Bush’s proposal is far more modest than Mr. Roberts apparently desires, but it could amount to real savings for taxpayers. For example, in 2002, the Office of Management and Budget decided to use competition in response to poor performance by the Government Printing Office (GPO), and opened the job of printing the fiscal 2004 federal budget to competitive bidding. GPO turned in a bid that was almost 24 percent lower than its price from the previous year in order to keep its job. That was $100,000 a year GPO could have saved taxpayers anytime it chose, but didn’t until it faced competition. Opportunities like that are scattered throughout the federal bureaucracy and could save taxpayers a lot of money.

Government undoubtedly is too big and growing too fast, but the president’s competitive sourcing proposal is a modest step toward improved efficiency and delivery of higher-quality services by the federal government.


Director of government affairs

National Taxpayers Union

Alexandria, Va.

Free speech for free minds

Thank you for your eye-opening editorial exposing Shippensburg University’s attempts to suppress free speech by students who do not share the university administration’s political viewpoints (“Stifling freedom,” Saturday). I was horrified to read of this behavior by an academic institution that is supposed to be teaching our young people to think for themselves. What’s next — banned books?

If universities are permitted to enforce this type of repressive behavior, are we much better than the Third World countries we condemn for holding “prisoners of conscience,” who are persecuted solely for the peaceful expression of their beliefs? Whatever happened to the First Amendment?


Greater Philadelphia Metro Area coordinator

Amnesty International USA

Norristown, Pa.

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