Is Israel's separation wall a protection or an imposition?

Regarding the Dec. 19 article, "The Arabs on the outside": Israel's wall exists because suicide bombers were sneaking into Israel and blowing up themselves and others. In addition, Hamas, the Palestinians' ruling political party, has a stated policy that advocates the destruction of Israel. Hamas has made no secrets about its intent.

The wall serves to protect the people of Israel. If others lived under the same circumstances, they would demand no less.
Michael Baron
Beachwood, Ohio

Regarding the Dec. 19 article about Arabs on the outside: It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand the concept of building an illegal fence on someone else's property – yet when applying it to Israel's separation barrier, all logic is somehow lost. Simply put, Israel can erect a barrier that reaches the heavens, but it cannot do it on Palestinian land. Therefore, whether the barrier keeps suicide bombers out of Israel is irrelevant.

While the concern always seems to be focused on keeping out suicide bombers, one must wonder where the world's attention is in getting out the illegal occupiers, who have been in the Palestinian people's land for the past 39 years. Israel has killed, humiliated, and abused Palestinians and destroyed their homes and lands. These are the same apartheid conditions that were universally condemned in South Africa.
Marlene Newesri
New York

Campaign contributions as free speech

According to your Dec. 20 editorial, "Chaining the beast in presidential races," a handful of political action groups have been fined $630,000 for violating campaign spending laws in the 2004 presidential election – a mere "pittance" and "two years too late."

I suggest it is a pity that, in this land of the free, there are "rules against advocating for or against a particular candidate." Your editorial states that "well monied interests still try to exploit loopholes to influence voters and government decisionmaking." No kidding – I thought that's what election campaigns were for. The biggest loophole is the Bill of Rights, which guarantees, among other things, the right of the people (even well-monied people) " petition the government for a redress of grievances." It also declares that "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech...."
Jack Kenny
Manchester, N.H.

Where some young writers get started

It was wonderful to read the Dec. 18 article, "Rare books find a home with youths," about young antiquarian book collectors. I was particularly interested in the reference to the prize of recent university graduate Bill Miglore – a 1940 copy of a Scholastic magazine that contains the first published work of Truman Capote.

Mr. Capote was neither the first nor the last famous writer or artist discovered by the Scholastic Awards. He is joined by Sylvia Plath, Andy Warhol, and Joyce Carol Oates among others. The awards have identified young voices in the arts since 1923.

This year, more than 250,000 works of art and writing are being submitted to the Awards. These young people represent the fresh voice of a new generation and the future of the arts. I imagine that, 60 years from now, another young bibliophile will prize his copy of "The Best Teen Writing of 2006," this year's anthology of recipients of The 2006 Scholastic Writing Awards.
B.J. Adler
New York Executive director, Alliance for Young Artists & Writers

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