I could kiss Monitor writers on both cheeks for their March 30 editorial, "Bush must now focus on the West Bank." It's been a long time since I read anything from the US that tries to be balanced and nonbiased. As a Palestinian-Arab and Muslim Jerusalemite who has been forced out of her city, I want to be able to visit Jerusalem, smell its odors, and touch its walls. I wish I could spend my last days there, worshiping at the Al Aqsa Mosque, and praying at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Nothing anywhere compares to this.
My father - may God rest his soul - used to tell us that Mr. Eisenhower would see to it that justice prevailed. Since then, how many UN resolutions and US decisions were made and broken, or negated? Your editorial brought tears of hope into my eyes, whether President Bush takes your view or not. There is some justice in your comment; there is some balance. Maybe some good will come out of it all before it is too late. Thank you.
Dr. Hala Hammad
Regarding the April 12 article, "Palestinians feel pinch": I have been a supporter of the Palestinian cause since my college days in the late 1980s and early '90s. But the time for change has come to both Israel and Palestine. Ariel Sharon was in the process of making that most unlikely of Israeli changes - getting rid of settlements and giving land back to Palestinians. I see yielding and compromise from the Israelis, but from the Palestinians I see nothing but people's hands reaching out, waiting for more cash as they continue their refusal to recognize Israel as a nation.
Palestinians voted Hamas into power, a party with the same tired rhetoric about how they can't do this or that with the Israelis. The international community is right to step up the pressure economically. Hamas has to answer for its political decisions - which it has used to justify more violence, instead of a search for a diplomatic solution. If Hamas doesn't want peace, then its members and supporters reap what they sow, and this hardship is the crop they've planted.
The April 11 article, "At Duke, hard questions about lacrosse culture," struck a chord with me. As an athlete attending a small, mostly white, private college, I was relieved to know that one major university was examining the off-field culture of its athletes.
While the recent incident at Duke involved the alleged assault of a female student from another university by members of Duke's lacrosse team, I think similar events often include athletes from other sports. Recently, football players at the University of Colorado were charged with sexually assaulting female students at a party. The football program at CU was scrutinized for a few weeks, but since then I've heard nothing of preventive measures against future attacks.
Why don't schools look more closely at the actions of their athletes? Athletes are the most visible representatives of their institutions, and they should act accordingly. In my four years of playing varsity sports at the college level, it has always been stressed that conduct, on and off the field, is everything. If conduct were stressed heavily at more schools, athletes would be less inclined to harm their peers.
Athletes must take responsibility for their actions. If athletic programs encouraged students to take responsibility, schools would not have to deal with these issues.
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