Toward Middle East peace

While generally perceptive, your April 25 editorial "Bending Bush's ear" errs in asserting that "even Mr. Sharon now admits" Israel "will eventually need to live next to a Palestinian state." Ariel Sharon has no intention of dismantling Jewish settlements on Palestinian land; indeed, he wants to expand them. He also seeks to undercut the "road map" to peace. His vision of a "Palestinian state" entails giving Palestinians less than half of the West Bank, and controlling their air space, water, and borders.

Israeli human rights groups have warned that Israel seeks to create one or more Palestinian "Bantustans" and to perpetuate an apartheid system already in place in the occupied territories. A viable Palestinian state will come about the same way apartheid ended in South Africa: through concerted political and economic pressure by the world community - including the UN and the US - on the stronger party (South Africa, Israel) until that party recognizes the human and national rights of the people they are oppressing.

This requires "regime change" in Israel and a reversal of US policy, which for decades has given Israel the financial, diplomatic, and military support needed to perpetuate a colonial occupation that precludes a just peace.
Edmund Hanauer
Framingham, Mass.Search for Justice and Equality in Palestine/Israel

The Dixie Chicks divide

Regarding your May 1 article "Will country forgive or forget Dixie Chicks?": There seems to be a misconception that those who oppose the political rumblings of entertainment stars are opposed to free speech. The opposition is over stars using their position to comment on their own political agendas.

Saying that one is embarrassed that the president is from Texas is not intellectual dissent about solving world problems. It's a remark against a political party and philosophy. Those who oppose hearing them are tired of the "political rhetoric," especially when concertgoers pay to hear music, not disingenuous remarks. It is not stifling free speech, but rather keeping events free of haranguing.

No one is suggesting the Dixie Chicks should be blacklisted for their remarks. But they need to realize that free speech is a two-way street. The public does not have a forum to talk back to those they might oppose; boycotting concerts, albums, or movies is one way to "talk back."
Lee Woodward
Granger, Ind.

Your May 1 headline, "Will country forgive or forget Dixie Chicks?" presupposes they did something that must be forgiven if they are going to continue to be successful. It is one thing for the predictable gaggle of right-wing zealots to stir up the wallets of their contributors with such foolishness; it is quite another for a respectable publication like yours to join in.
Allan Root
Weaverville, N.C.

What is happening at home?

I read Pat M. Holt's May 1 Opinion column "War's greatest casualty: domestic spending" because I didn't like the headline. I feel the greatest tragedy of the war was the deaths it caused, but his piece addressed many important issues. We used to take care of our poor and needy, and that was more important than military spending. Our children should have the best education in the world and do it on full stomachs. We worry about the kids in Afghanistan getting an education - what about our kids' education?

I believe we should help anyone we can, but charity begins at home, and Americans are getting tired of others coming before our own.
Venice Hunter
Emporia, Kan.

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