U.S.-Israeli settlement dispute
Peace prospects remain bleak
Since Israel became independent, the United States has been its best guardian and supporter, but if it were a marriage a divorce would have occurred. Both share some common and contradictory interests, but the primary and governing one must be a two-state solution with an enforceable peace with the Palestinians.
Many Jews and many Palestinians have suffered and sacrificed mightily in the absence of peace. The latest move by Israel to build more settlements, announced when Vice President Joe Biden was there, is an affront to President Barack Obama's Middle East peace strategy.
Long ago the United States learned that the billions it provides Israel don't buy critical leverage or much satisfaction from Jewish lobbying in America. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lacks the stature of other and better Israeli leaders, has a record of indecisiveness and is influenced by very right-wing/theocratic political parties. While I think Israel faces serious regional threats, it still is the strongest power in the area. So the question is how and who will compel progress and change?
Netanyahu will not be the leader to count on while Obama has the potential for some degree of success. Tenacity and great courage at the leadership level are required. Nothing is on the horizon that is promising, so the news will be unchanged in a region costing the United States dearly each day.
James R. Gillespie, St. Petersburg
Remember our friends
President Barack Obama's Middle East policy is wrong. It appears that he cannot distinguish between our friends and our enemies.
Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, yet our president seems to prefer to placate Islamic fundamentalists.
Norman N. Gross, Ph.D., Tampa
U.S. shouldn't tell Israel what to do
How does the United States have any authority to tell Israel what it can and cannot do with its own country? None of the other major powers try to tell Israel what to do.
Our country is on the verge of political and financial collapse and we are demanding that Israel stop a building project. How about if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came to the United States and demanded we not build a new stadium in St. Petersburg for a baseball team? Or anything else. Who is going to buy that one?
The United States is all over the Middle East telling world leaders what to do, even Russia, China, Iran. It's funny that none of those nations are telling us what to do in our country.
Jeffrey G. Mikres, Palm Harbor
Put the pressure on
I read and heard about the uproar over the intended Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem, largely coming from Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton .
And then we hear about the regrets expressed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, not for the settlements themselves, but for the timing of the news release of the planned expansion.
Maybe we would hear some real regrets from Israel if we threatened to cut off the nearly $3 billion in aid we send them annually unless they stop all settlements in these contested areas. I wonder why we are so slavishly loyal to the Israelis.
Bill Youmans, Clearwater
Free speech remains essential | March 15
Rights have limits
Unfortunately those people who are advocating so vociferously for the Rev. Fred Phelps' First Amendment rights seem to forget that all rights have limits. So, too, it is with free speech lest we be overtaken by a tyranny of the minority.
Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., has been listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for good reason. The church members are equal opportunity haters. They have issued statements condemning Irish, Italians, Catholics, Muslims and gays.
The defendants have acted in a repeated pattern to defame deceased service members and wilfully inflict emotional trauma on their survivors. There is essentially no difference between these acts and burning a cross on a lawn.
The 4th U.S. Court of Appeals erred in overturning Snyder vs. Phelps and now the U.S. Supreme Court has a chance to reinstate the verdict with monetary damages so that these hatemongers can be sent back to Kansas where they belong … bankrupt. Hopefully in this case, free speech will be very expensive!
Al Russell, Port Richey
A lavish rise for Rubio | March 13, story
Let's hear about Meek
For months now, I have read article after article on Marco Rubio suggesting that he is corrupt.
I would like, for once, to see an article on Kendrick Meek (the Democrat who is also running for the U.S. Senate) and his financial and personal business. Has he ever used a party credit card for his own advantage? Has he ever wavered on any belief that he may have once had? Has he ever done anything not saintly that would require this newspaper to write anything negative about him?
Fair and balanced this paper is not! If you are going to keep publishing critical articles on Marco Rubio, who hasn't even won the primary yet, how are you going to cover Kendrick Meek, the Democrat who has no primary challenger and will be the Democratic candidate?
William Gerretz, St. Petersburg
Here's why a Kennedy is leaving family business | March 13, story
Too long in office
This is another glaring example of the need for term limits.
Politics should not be a "family business." Politicians should serve their term and then go home and live under the laws they have created!
Michael Wilkinson, Belleair
The grande dame of the dog park | March 14, story
I am not a prude by any means, but reading this article utterly shocked me. Why is this paper showing that type of dialogue in the first place, let alone on the front page of the Sunday paper?
I think of all those kids who cut out articles to bring in for class assignments and wonder where is your integrity?
It also makes me wonder about all the real issues that are pressing in these times that should have been present on the front page and yet you chose to run this trash?
Matt Drummy, St. Petersburg