A conscience-stricken Sharon?
Regarding the May 27 Editorial, "Peace like clockwork": The civilians on both sides of the conflict have been the real victims, yet their determination to make peace remains resolute. More than 50 percent of the Israeli public supports an independent Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza. This has been the mainstream position of the elected Palestinian government for years. The Oslo process was not, as you confidently assert, destroyed by a "string of Palestinian suicide bombings," but rather by the disparaging effect of seeing Israeli settlement activity double in the years following the 1993 agreement, coupled with Ariel Sharon's provocative visit to the al-Haram ash-Sharif with 1,000 armed guards.
His conscience may finally be catching up with him. Monday, the words came straight out of the man's mouth: "The idea that it is possible to continue keeping 3.5 million Palestinians under occupation - yes, it is occupation, you might not like the word, but what is happening is occupation - is bad for Israel, and bad for the Palestinians, and bad for the Israeli economy...."
In your editorial on the renewed diplomacy between Israel and the PA, you write that "the US and Europe engineered the sidelining of Yasser Arafat with the election of the more peace-minded Mahmoud Abbas as Palestinian prime minister." First, Mr. Abbas was not elected. He was appointed by Mr. Arafat and approved by the Palestinian Legislative Council. Second, it is questionable whether Arafat has been sidelined. Abbas reports to Arafat several times a day, and can be fired by Arafat at any time. It is Arafat who controls the security forces. Third, it remains a question whether Abbas is more peace-minded than Arafat. The two are long-standing colleagues with similar values and goals. So far, Abbas has done nothing concrete to reduce the violence in and from the West Bank and Gaza. While it is important to view things positively, it is also important not to let wishful thinking substitute for truth.
I thank Ed Goodpaster for addressing current journalism issues from inside the field, and doing so honestly ("Journalism's weakest link," May 27, Opinion). While the profession might benefit from some form of required licensure, a reminder is in order. The press is a maverick profession/business by virtue of its role in a free democratic society. Big business has its fingers all over the news media. I know this from my experiences as a newspaper reporter. As we speak, the way is being cleared for bigger and better monopolies, as the FCC steps obediently out of the way.
Journalism and a free press can only be preserved by free citizens, if at all. Perhaps alert citizens should start getting their news from independent sources and stop believing every slick story they read.
Regarding John Hughes's May 28 Opinion column, "Is Hollywood getting the message?": While I find it good that networks are cutting down on the amount of sex and violence on TV, if parents are upset about it, they should turn it off. It is the parents' responsibility to monitor what their children watch - not the networks'. If parents would spend more time with their children, and stop using TV as a free babysitter, this wouldn't be a problem.
Also, as an adult, I enjoy watching shows with adult themes, and no person should decide what I will or will not watch. It all comes down to choice, and parents should choose to turn off the TV now and again.
Willow Springs, Mo.
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