Your May 21 article "Gaza raid causes more bitterness" buried Israel's explanation of a controversial event at the Rafah refugee camp in the fifth paragraph and never explained why the raid took place in the first place. The discovery of smuggling tunnels, no matter how few, raises important questions regarding Israel's ability to defend itself. One tunnel is enough to smuggle anti-aircraft missiles or even chemical weapons. Since these tunnels involve Egyptian complicity, it is necessary to ask some questions of our other alleged "ally."
Didn't Hosni Mubarak attend the Aqaba summit last summer and pledge to do everything he could to promote a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? If so, why is Egypt allowing construction on its soil of tunnels that are then used to smuggle weapons, forcing Israel to go on offensives to destroy them? Isn't Egypt also receiving billions in US foreign aid, and for what reason, if it will not comply with promises to our president?
Jonathan D. Reich
At the UN, the actions in Gaza by Israel were condemned by a vote of 14 to 0 with the US abstaining. To many foreign observers, our refusal to join the nations of the world in condemning Israel's actions must add proof that we're not impartial peacemakers in the Middle East. We supply money and arms for Israel to repress Palestinians, and give a pass to the Israeli government. Is there any atrocity that Israel might commit that would earn our condemnation?
Your May 21 editorial "A hornet's nest in Gaza" refers to the Palestinian tunnels at the southern end of the Gaza Strip as "allow[ing] a flow of arms or explosives that have been or could be used for suicide bombings against civilians." It might be helpful to add what else they also supply, as stated by Amira Haas in the Israeli paper Haaretz: "Merchants invented the system. The tunnels are not only for weapons and drugs, but for medicine, basic food commodities, and cigarettes, at prices much more suitable for poverty-stricken Rafah. They are a way to break an economic siege. The weapons in the hands of the armed men of Rafah prove that the tunnels are not being used to smuggle sophisticated weapons."
Leonard B. Bjorkman
Regarding Lawrence A. Uzzell's May 20 Opinion piece "Kosovo's religious tables turned": Human rights violations committed on NATO's watch are NATO's responsibility. This fact needs to be driven home to the American people. It's not sufficient to simply condemn the violations as though we were responding to events in a country where we had no presence and no power to intervene. The question of whether these attacks are motivated by revenge is irrelevant. Revenge is not a justification for ethnic cleansing.
Regarding your May 20 article "Organic lawns: it's easy being green": The benefits of organic, natural lawns are simple and clear. It's interesting to note that the lawn chemical industry groups focused on the supposed environmental benefits of lawns as compared with asphalt. Of course lawns stay cooler than streets, and of course grass produces oxygen and soaks up sulfur dioxide. But nobody is proposing that we replace lawns with pavement. The real question is whether a chemically altered lawn is a more environmentally friendly filter than a lawn seeded with native grasses or a garden full of local plants. The answer is a resounding "no."
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