United States Aid and Israeli Settlements
Regarding the opinion-page column "Will US Stand By and Let Israel Colonize West Bank and Gaza?," May 22: When will the US Congress wake up to realize that our Israeli friends will never cease to scuttle Middle East peace initiatives until we turn off the millions in subsidies we send them monthly? We have already initiated the arms destruction of their worst enemy (Saddam Hussein's Iraq) and protected them with our men and materiel from the Scud missiles which their arrogance inspired. Then they have the gall to ask us to finance the repair of their illegal settlements which somehow were hit.
Shamir will never negotiate with the Arabs until we threaten to stop subsidizing the present Israeli regime, and the illegal building on the West Bank and Gaza will never stop until we "just say no" through Congress.
The Israelis are building up hate and malice for their own cause and it is imperative that we in the United States not be swept up in their self-inflicted whirlwind.
Betty S. Sands, San Francisco
It is clear that the present government of Israel is committed to a policy of blatantly aggressive expansionism.
The annexation of the occupied territories together with the oppression and displacement of their indigenous people is, to this government, apparently not only a "right," but, for all practical purposes, a fait accompli.
To seize land and displace the people who live on that land is to commit the kind of crude, outmoded barbarism which Americans have, with this one exception, associated only with the worst of the totalitarian regimes. Five times in this century the United States has gone to war to roll back such aggression.
Our diplomatic efforts to ameliorate the situation have come up against the stone wall of determined territorial aggrandizement. The solution may not be clear to the diplomats and the politicians, but it should certainly be clear to the US taxpayer, whose government is laboring under a crushing deficit, with many unmet needs right at home. Simply stop subsidizing this determined expansionism with our money, which we are reportedly sending to Israel at a rate of $10 million a day!
Daniel Kingman, Sacramento, Calif.
Vietnamese reform efforts
The opinion-page article "Resume Normal Relations with Vietnam," May 14, overstates the current situation.
The author asserts that Vietnam has proven willing to meet some US conditions for normalization "by withdrawing from Cambodia, pledging further support on the POW/MIA problem, and allowing discussion on the emigration of Amerasian children."
Although many Americans continue to accept Vietnamese promises at face value, the POW/MIA families have 20-plus years of experience. POW/MIA pledges have been abrogated repeatedly in the past.
Recent developments are encouraging, but we await results before making judgments. That most Vietnamese troops have been withdrawn is generally accepted, but is not yet verified. The good news is that cooperation on Amerasian emigration has proceeded well.
We all look forward to the time, let us hope soon, when relations between the US and Vietnam can be resumed in the spirit of friendship which both people deserve. The timing is up to Hanoi. Let's hope the upcoming Vietnamese party congress expedites bilateral cooperation on a broad front.
Ann Mills Griffiths, Washington, Natl. League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in SE Asia