Not that simple
Re: "Don't Panic! Why hasn't President Bush's 'road map' to Middle East peace worked so far?" By Andisheh Nouraee (Sept. 3-9)

The article must rank as one of the most wrong-headed and blatantly biased pieces of reporting published by the Weekly Planet. While this writer agrees that there are actions that both Israel and the U.S. possibly could and should have taken to strengthen the peace process, to ignore the lack of action on the part of the Palestinian Authority requires a blindness to the realities of the conflict that are staggering. Nouraee describes the shortcomings of the Israeli government in mocking terms and points out, "They've not pulled out of the territories occupied since September 2001." Yes, this is true and it is a clear violation of the conditions of the "road map."

But, in all fairness one must add that the Palestinians are required under the road map to concurrently fulfill the following: "Palestinians declare an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism and undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks on Israelis anywhere."

Further, it requires: "Rebuilt and refocused (Palestinian Authority) security apparatus begins sustained, targeted and effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure. This includes commencing confiscation of illegal weapons and consolidation of security authority, free of association with terror and corruption."

The PA has done virtually nothing to fulfill this obligation. Nouraee notes briefly in passing that, "In reality, Palestinians don't have the means to crack down on the militants completely." Excuse me? The PA agreed to the conditions of the road map just a few months ago. At which time, by the way, they made a point of castigating the Sharon government for dragging its feet in signing on. What has changed that apparently allows them the freedom to disregard their obligations while complaining about the lack of actions by Israel?

It is also true that the Israelis are targeting members of Hamas (which the European Union recently labeled a terrorist organization). These assassinations are of course abhorrent but again Nouraee somehow finds the targeted killing of known and avowed militants a much more serious breach of behavior than the deliberate murder and maiming of dozens of children as in the recent bombing of a bus in Jerusalem — to which a passing reference is made. The clear implication is that murder of innocents is somehow justified but targeting the terrorists that perpetrate such outrages is not.

The one-sided and simple-minded "answers" in the piece are a shameful and unfair analysis of terribly complex problems. Certainly, it would be best if Israel would begin to dismantle the settlements and to start a process of pulling its forces back from Palestinian towns. Israelis are overwhelmingly ready to support this — but not while leaders within the Palestinian community encourage violence and murder. Palestinians have to accept the fact that terrorism and murder will not move them closer to an independent state of their own.

—Harvey Glass

Our civic duty
Re: "The Case for Albert Whitted Airport" By Eric Snider (Oct. 8-14)

I have been in a quandary over the Albert Whitted Airport issue since the debate started. After reading your Oct 8-14 article and the responses in the current issue (Oct. 22), I'm ready to vote to close the airport and put in a public park.

Thank you for enough information on both sides of the issue to uncloud my mind (to the extent that that is possible) and to allow me to cast an informed ballot.

—Jim Carlin
St. Petersburg

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