Letters to the Editor

Readers write about Israel's wall, helping the US economy by purchasing a US-made car, and ending rape as a weapon of war.

Hold Israel to international law regarding wall, settlers

Regarding the Nov. 26 Opinion piece, "In the name of peace, Israelis and Palestinians should become European": This suggestion is valuable, in part, because it points to a role that the European Union (EU) can play that is independent of the United States. It is, however, a role whose payoff is in the indefinite future. Israel is about to have an election in which a right-wing ideologue who is opposed to any treaty with the Palestinians whatsoever may be elected.

Instead of merely aiming at the distant future, the EU could do something that would have an immediately beneficial impact. It could seek to protect Palestinian human rights by demanding that Israel comply with international law in the conduct of its occupation (now 41 years old), beginning with the tearing down of the "security" wall in the occupied territories. The EU could also demand that Israel remove the settlers from all occupied territories.

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Both the presence of the settlers and the wall have been called illegal by the International Court of Justice and the United Nations Security Council. Neither the settlers nor the wall are required for Israel's security. The wall merely protects the settlers, and the settlers protect nothing. With the settlers resettled within pre-1967 Israeli territory, Israel could rebuild the security wall within its own pre-1967 territory – as it could do today, achieving the same security that it has now, but without violating international law.

Israel's peace community and government need help removing the settlers and the wall. The settler community is too powerful a political bloc for any Israeli government to act voluntarily to come into compliance with law. The government will act, if at all, only under some kind of duress.

Law enforcement is a form of duress. The EU could thus provide a service to Israel's peace community, thereby promoting peace as well as human rights, by taking a tough stand on international law.

Peter Belmont
New York

To help US economy, buy US cars

Regarding the Nov. 25 article, "In Michigan's auto belt, it's nail-biting time": A small picture accompanying that article says it all. It shows a sticker on the rear end of an American automobile that reads, "Out of a job yet? Keep buying foreign!"

The American automobile-buying public has unwittingly done itself and our nation a disservice by buying foreign-made automobiles instead of domestic brands out of a perception that foreign cars are better. Twenty years ago there was some truth in this, but our automobile manufacturers have long since improved their cars to the point that there is no longer any significant difference in quality. Not only that, but they are often less expensive than their competitors.

It's a little late now, but it would still help our economy a lot if those in the market for a new car would at least try some of our American makes before running to a foreign-car dealer.

Greg Harris
Kirkland, Wash.

More must be done to stop rape in war

In regard to the Nov. 24 article, "Rape's vast toll in Iraq war remains largely ignored": I want to thank author Anna Badkhen for her illuminating piece on Iraqi rape victims in Jordan. The plight of these women should put us all to shame for not doing enough to eradicate the use of rape as a weapon of war. My heart goes out to those women in Iraq and across the globe whose terrible stories are told in this piece.

Dalila Mahdawi
Beirut, Lebanon

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