Send e-mail to email@example.com (no attached files, please, which can contain viruses); fax to 770-532-0457; or mail to The Times, P.O. Box 838, Gainesville, GA 30503. Include full name, hometown and phone number for confirmation. They should be limited to one topic on issues of public interest and may be edited for content and length. Letters forwarded from other sources or those involving personal or business disputes, poetry, expressions of faith or memorial tributes may be rejected. You may be limited to one letter per month, two on a single topic. Submitted items may be published in print, electronic or other forms. Letters, columns and cartoons express the opinions of the authors and not of The Times editorial board.
Charles Krauthammer's Sunday column, "Hamas ‘peace' plan follows Arafat's lead," was remarkably disingenuous. His article explained various reasons why Israel should not be expected to accept a two-state solution to the Mideast conflict.
Krauthammer makes reference to a New York Times interview of Hamas leader Khaled Meshal, but he does not quote any part of the interview transcript itself. Instead he makes only inferences and allegations. If there is a part of that interview or a stated position that Krauthammer opposes, why didn't he quote it directly?
Krauthammer cites Yasser Arafat's refusal of the Israeli peace offer during the Camp David Summit of 2000 as an example of Palestinian intransigence. What Krauthammer didn't mention was that this offer would have allowed Israel permanent control over all of the water resources of the West Bank.
In short, Israel offered a large percentage of the land, but no sovereign authority over any of the water resources. Specifically, Israel would retain control over water sources in the West Bank while approving a limited quota to the Palestinians. This is not a minor quibble. He who controls the water has de facto control over the people. Israel's failure to offer Palestinian control over West Bank water resources falls short of the "road map" stipulations for a viable state.
Krauthammer smugly insinuates that "Palestinians already have a state, an independent territory" called Gaza. Since the unilateral Israeli withdrawal, Gaza has been a source of violence and a frequently cited example of why Israel has backed away from the two-state solution proposed by the "road map." Krauthammer conveniently refers to it as a "terror base."
Prior to its withdrawal, Israel did nothing to help transition a more desirable Palestinian government into power there. You might think if Israel actually wanted a peaceful government to control Gaza, it might have taken steps to form and support one prior to withdrawal. None of that happened.
In fact, Israel did all that it could to destroy, undermine and withhold funding for Fatah, which was the political authority governing the Occupied West Bank. In the vacuum following Israel's withdrawal from Gaza, it should not surprise anyone that an organization with outside support would take control. Anyone smarter than a fifth-grader could have predicted it.
Israel could not have been blind to the possibility of this development. Israeli diplomats continue to insist that America should not withdraw from Iraq until the U.S. has "stood up" a reliable government capable of maintaining order and preventing terrorism. In light of this, it is possible Israel intended Hamas to take control of Gaza because it did not take steps to stand up an alternate government before withdrawing.
Hamas' control of Gaza constitutes an effective roadblock to implementation of "road map" stipulations. This is not good for Palestinians or for the peace process, but it's good for those who would resist removal of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. It is good for those who would oppose the two-state solution. It is good for those who fund and support conservative shills like Krauthammer.
Administration is leaving many questions unanswered
Questions to ponder: Why do we not see any accountability in the Obama administration?
Why do we not see Harry Reid calling Obama a liar like he did Bush?
Why do we not see the openness in this administration we were promised during the campaign?
Why did we see most of the Obama appointees delinquent on their taxes?
Why do we see every time something goes wrong in this administration it is blamed on the Bush administration?
Why does Speaker Nancy Pelosi have the same selective hearing as Slick Willie?
Why do we not hear the outcry over the outrageous spending in this administration we heard in the Bush administration?
Why does President Barack Obama think he can spend this country out of debt? Have any of you tried the same thing with your debts?
Why do you voters put up with the nonsense we see in Washington?
Those of you who voted for Obama are now seeing the change you can believe in. More jobs lost in this administration than in the previous 16 years. Four times the money spent in three months than in the previous eight years. Your and my grandchildren are burdened with a debt their grandchildren will not be able to pay off.
Blame it on the Bush administration and it dies immediately.
Water boarding equals torture, according to you American haters. You want to protect the terrorists so much why don't you tell the government officials you want some of them to come live with you?
I am sick of all you whiners and woosies who expect the government to take care of you, yet you will protest against everything this country stands for. Maybe you will meet some of the terrorists you love so much before you leave this old world; they can show you torture. You would welcome waterboarding.
Paul S. Barnes