Returning to ruin in Gaza | March 8, Perspective story
Palestinians must end hatred
When I saw the picture on the front page of the March 8 Perspective section — a beautiful Palestinian family standing in front of their destroyed home — I had mixed emotions. I was very saddened for their loss but happy to see that they all survived and were physically unharmed.
Blaming Israel for defending its people who were experiencing horror every day for many years by the missiles flying from Gaza into Israeli towns where defenseless women and children were running for their lives into shelters for protection is wrong. Did this beautiful family ever protest against those actions of Hamas? I wonder. After many warnings, Israel responded and Gaza paid the price. Israeli concessions, like giving up Gaza, led to more extremism and terrorism.
Peace can be achieved first and foremost by removing hatred toward Israel from the Palestinian children's textbooks and demonstrating against launching missiles toward Israel. They need to analyze the problem thoroughly and truthfully, change the attitude of hatred toward the Jewish state and recognize it's there to stay. Then the beautiful family will know no more destruction.
Mary Wygodski, St. Petersburg
Israel is right to defend itself
Your overwhelming pro-Palestinian coverage with its subtle messages that obviously cast Israel as uncaring of human life, abusive and ruthless to those people is bad journalism.
Your spread last weekend devoted to the Palestinians was enough for me. You obviously do not want to investigate the Israeli side of things and take their perspective and stories.
The Arab countries have had 50 years to help resettle the Palestinians and provide them a better life, but instead, they turned the other way and allowed Yasser Arafat and Hamas to rule. And the ordinary Palestinians have paid the price because of these regimes' doctrine to destroy Israel.
I am glad Israel has stood up for its rights and for protecting human life, as any democratic country would do.
Bruce Clark, Tampa
Balance is needed
When will the St. Petersburg Times begin to provide readers with balanced coverage of the Middle East? Readers are exposed to biased, one-dimensional, inaccurate and incomplete information, portraying our ally Israel. Palestinians are portrayed as victims. Israelis who endure rocket attacks on women and children daily are ignored.
It is time for balanced coverage!
Norman N. Gross, Ph.D., president, Promoting Responsibility in Middle East Reporting, Palm Harbor
Returning to ruin in Gaza | March 8
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has pledged the United States will provide $900-million to the Palestinians to help rebuild areas in Gaza devastated by Israel's recent overwhelming attack. More than 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed in this assault.
The United States provides more than $3 billion to Israel in economic and military aid each year, so we are pretty much implicated in whatever Israel does. Maybe the $900 million pledge is a conscience payment to atone for our part in the attack on Gaza.
But where is Israel's conscience payment? Israel seems to be perfectly happy accepting our money, launching vicious attacks on the Palestinians and then expecting others to repair the damage they have done.
Joseph A. Mahon, St. Petersburg
Aid is ridiculous
I just wrote an angry letter to my U.S. representative regarding the $900 million in aid the Obama administration plans to provide to the Palestinian Authority and Gaza. There are not enough expletives in the English language to allow me to properly rail against that ridiculous idea!
The Israel Defense Forces devastated Gaza because Hamas terrorists had been attacking Israel for months, even in the midst of a cease-fire. The Palestinians who live there elected their Hamas leadership. They then harbored the terrorists who launched rockets and mortars against innocent civilians in Israel.
President Bush wisely said that those who harbor terrorists should be treated as terrorists. During this time of economic hardship in America, I am enraged to see American foreign aid paying to feed and arm terrorists. The Palestinians brought their misery upon themselves. Let their rich Arab and Iranian patrons pay for their idiocy!
Rick Hubbard, Tampa
A cheater by any other name … | March 8, Robyn Blumner column
Punish the cheaters
We keep asking ourselves, "How did we get into this financial nightmare so quickly?" Well, Robyn Blumner's column in Perspective reveals the "bad guys," the cheaters. Regulation and oversight of our financial systems were "methodically bought off" by the financial sector, and our irresponsible politicians in Washington (both Republicans and Democrats) were bought off through this appalling influence peddling.
I followed Blumner's advice and read the complete report, "Sold out: How Wall Street and Washington betrayed America," which I found at http://www.wallstreetwatch.org. This site contains an executive summary of the report. The complete report details the "12 policy decisions that led to cataclysm" in our financial sector.
How much longer are you and I going to tolerate government run by special interests, lobbyists and big money? I urge you to read the report described above. I urge you to write your congressional representatives regarding this scandalous situation. I urge you to demand a return to governmental regulation to safeguard our financial systems. And I urge you to call for severe punishment for such cheaters whose greed and arrogance have damaged all of us so profoundly.
Elizabeth Reynolds, St. Petersburg
Stem cell research
Just reject the care
There is a very simple answer for those who are protesting the research to be done with stem cells. All of these people need only make a statement to their doctors, and have it made a part of their medical file, that they refuse any and/all medicines or procedures developed through this research.
They do not, however, have the right to deny the rest of us any help that can be obtained from such research. They do not have the right to dictate their small-minded ideas.
Constance Spinney, Largo
The greatest Floridian | March 10, commentary by Martin Dyckman
Depth of knowledge
It was a pleasure to see a column by Martin Dyckman in the St. Petersburg Times again. I didn't know the story of how LeRoy Collins had stood up for civil rights as governor in his bold speech in 1960.
And standing up for civil rights in the early 1960s was even more dangerous for individuals in the South than it was in the Midwest, which I had experience with as a schoolgirl. So it was wonderful to learn about Collins' courage, especially in the context of finally having our first black president.
I really miss Dyckman's columns. The information he used to give in his columns helped me assimilate to this state when I first arrived. I came to Florida unsure of whether I would stay. But Dyckman — and many of your other columnists, editorial writers and reporters who were long-time or native Floridians — always gave such deep context to all the articles they wrote that I quickly came to feel like a native. Florida became home.
Now, like Dyckman, most of them are not writing or only write as correspondents. So much of that deep context is missing.
I hope the Times will manage to hang on to the few remaining newsroom staffers it still has who know Florida and St. Petersburg so well.
Lin Young, St. Petersburg