Wednesday, October 15, 2014

My Published Letters 2014

The New York Times

The Opinion Pages | Letters

How to Answer the Fears of a Palestinian Mother

To the Editor:
Re “A Mother’s Fear in East Jerusalem,” by Rula Salameh (Op-Ed, July 10), and “Religious Freedom in Peril,” by Nicholas Kristof (column, July 10):
Horrified by the hate crimes and violence generated by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Ms. Salameh condemns Israel, but she doesn’t condemn the nefarious part that Islamists are playing in perpetuating the tragic conflict.
Mr. Kristof admits that he was reluctant to write his column “because religious repression is an awkward topic when it thrives in Muslim countries.”
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is ruining many lives; it needs to end, for everyone’s sake. Big-picture, inclusive thinking is the only way out of this cruel mess.
Ending the conflict with a just and lasting peace built by two fully secular sovereign states, Israel and Palestine, both fully respecting international law and universal human rights, is the best way forward.
Mechanicsburg, Pa., July 10, 2014

The Baltimore Sun,0,1374094.story#ixzz370OY2jif

Freedom of religion, as well as freedom from religion, is crucial to the stability of all countries. Arming religion with lethal weaponry plus public funds is a very bad idea ("A dangerous turning point in Israel," July 7).

The Israel-Palestine conflict has always been personal for the people who live there, and the momentum for making the Israel-Palestine conflict into a religious conflagration starts with the fact that Israel foolishly insists on being "a Jewish state."

Israel being "Jewish" translates into taxpayers' money and international aid generously funding Israeli policies that privilege Jews, including but not limited to Israel's illegal occupation of the West Bank and Jews-only settlement projects built on land usurped from native, non-Jewish Arab Palestinians.

These policies have created and exasperated a huge refugee crisis, with countless Palestinians pushed into poverty, forced exile and despair.

Islamist extremists have risen up to make a bad situation worse in every possible way. Were it not for the Islamists' reign of terror, many more people and governments worldwide would have much more sympathy and compassion for the Palestinians' plight.

Advocating full respect for international law and universal basic human rights to shape a secular, two-state solution with two sovereign nations living side by side in peace and security is the only way out of the mess made by the religious extremists and hatemongers on both sides.

There are many good and decent people on both sides of the Israel-Palestine conflict who deserve a chance to live and raise their children in peace and dignity. Worldwide the rule of fair and just laws is an ongoing process that requires educated, empowered and engaged citizens who are willing and able to see beyond their own personal suffering and sorrows. The best revenge is living well.

Anne Selden Annab, Mechanicsburg, Penn.


Don't silence criticism of Israel [Letter]

I totally agree with Melani McAlister's point that the "question of how Americans should respond to the deteriorating situation in Israel and Palestine — what our government should do, what we as individuals can or should do — should be openly and freely debated" ("Maryland bills would stifle academic freedom," Feb. 12).

Already, social pressure tends to convince numerous concerned Americans to voluntarily refrain from criticizing Israel. Some stay silent because they do not want to be falsely labeled as anti-Semitic. Meanwhile, many other people, including movie stars who prefer to empower Israel and Israeli propaganda continue to be highly motivated to do so at every opportunity.

More than 60 years ago, Israel's application to membership in the United Nations clearly pointed out that Israel was directly contravening "the previous recommendations of the United Nations in at least three important respects: in its attitude on the problem of Arab refugees, on the delimitation of its territorial boundaries, and on the question of Jerusalem."

Since then, things have only gone from bad to worse. Did you know that the number of Palestinian structures (including many Palestinian homes) demolished by the Israeli authorities in the Jordan Valley more than doubled, from 192 in 2012 to 393 in 2013? Adding in American legislation to penalize the few American scholars and students who are willing to publicly discuss the very real suffering and plight of the Palestinians gives sovereign Israel even more power to oppress, persecute, disenfranchise and displace the native non-Jewish population of historic Palestine.

Islamists thrive on the continuation of the Israel-Palestine conflict, and so do anti-American hate mongers and many misinformation campaigns. It is in our best interests as a nation, and as conscientious compassionate global citizens, to seek the full and total truth about Israel and Palestine and to do all we can to support an actual end to the Israel-Palestine conflict with a just and lasting peace shaped by a fully secular, two state solution that fully respects international law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Anne Selden Annab, Mechanicsburg, Pa.


Letters: Bringing peace to the Middle East

January 11, 2014

The peace process has been tragically unsuccessful, and war in the region has produced terrible consequences. No one in the Middle East is safer, and many countries are much less stable now than before.

Multiple factors, including religious extremism and terrorism motivated by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, are likely to make this dangerous situation go from bad to worse.

Considering all that, I have to agree with the gist of your editorial, and I very much hope that more people do what they can to help make a just and lasting peace for both Israel and the Palestinians a reality.

Anne Selden Annab
Mechanicsburg, Penn.

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