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In Israel, U.S. foots a bill on both sides | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Thursday’s letters to the editor.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken hold a joint press conference in Jerusalem on May 25, 2021, days after an Egypt-brokered truce halted fighting between the Jewish state and the Gaza Strip's rulers Hamas. (Menahem Kahana/Pool Photo via AP)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken hold a joint press conference in Jerusalem on May 25, 2021, days after an Egypt-brokered truce halted fighting between the Jewish state and the Gaza Strip's rulers Hamas. (Menahem Kahana/Pool Photo via AP) [ MENAHEM KAHANA | AP ]
Published May 27

Double billing

Blinken: U.S. will aid Gaza without helping Hamas | May 25

Over the years the U.S. government has supplied Israel with about $146 billion in economic and military assistance, although economic assistance ended in 2007. Israel was the first country to acquire the sophisticated F-35 fighter jet, yet another sign of America’s close relationship with the Jewish state. During his visit to that country and in his meetings with Palestinian authorities, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has promised to help the Palestinian population in Gaza (but not their elected Hamas-controlled government) with some $360 million in aid to recover from the damages suffered during the recent conflict with Israel, which will probably be repeated in the not-too-distant future judging by periodic outbreaks of violence in the past.

Those damages were the result of munitions launched by the Israelis in response to Hamas’ rocket barrages. Israel buys the munitions from the United States in large part with military assistance funds provided by the U.S. government, now totaling$3.8 billion annually. Clearly, so long as the Palestinians are denied their own country the periodic eruption of violent conflict will continue with only losers as the result, including American taxpayers who wind up footing the bill on both sides.

Fred Kalhammer, Sun City Center

The need for speed

Florida should embrace Biden’s high-speed rail plan | Editorial, May 26

Building a high-speed train from Orlando to Tampa isn’t a horrible idea. Sure it would be very expensive, but think about all the tourists and even some locals who would use it and give us our money’s worth. Plus, it would get more people off of the highway so heavy traffic and accidents would decrease. It would be very cool to have a high speed train that can bring you from one theme park in Orlando to another in Tampa.

Teya Herbst, Indian Shores

Lobby is her hobby

How Biden’s American Rescue Plan helps out Florida’s cities | Column, May 11

I am a Catholic nun, and I tease that “lobby is my hobby.” My faith and Catholic social justice directs my advocacy. I’m grateful that the American Rescue Plan provides for an international response to COVID. Now I lobby to ask my member of Congress, Rep. Gus Bilirakus, to increase poverty-reducing development and humanitarian assistance in Fiscal Year 2022. COVID is an international problem. Millions have been displaced, and millions more need emergency food assistance. It is important that the United States be a global leader in funding international and humanitarian aid; this funding can address the root causes of hunger/malnutrition through innovative and sustainable programs. Besides showing U.S. good will, we will also be offering resources such as how to improve farming practices. I invite others to take up my “hobby” and lobby your legislators. Help them serve the people — all of them.

Sister Mary David Hydro, St. Leo

Who feels guilty?

Gov. DeSantis repeats criticism of ‘critical race theory’ in Florida schools | May 25

Am I the only one who wonders whether the group that feels “guilty for past actions by white people” isn’t the children that aren’t being taught critical race theory, but rather the Republican politicians who rant about it and are trying to ban it? Is it they who don’t want to face their own guilt?

William Carroll, St. Petersburg

Get train on track

Florida should embrace Biden’s high-speed rail plan | Editorial, May 26

The Monday front page quoted U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg saying, “Florida is such a great candidate for rail.” I could not agree more. The time to invest in high-speed rail was yesterday, yesteryear and yester-era, but that does not mean that Florida should fail to act today. Building more highway lanes (between Tampa and Orlando, for instance) does not lead to reduced traffic congestion; in fact, it has the opposite effect by lulling people into a false perception of wide-open interstates and thereby encouraging more driving. The result is exponential rates of congestion and air pollution. In contrast, high-speed rail would help flatten the pollution curve, so to speak, and smooth our transition to sustainability. Urge your representatives to support and apply for rail funding; we are not in a position to idle any longer for cleaner transportation options.

Martha McAlister, Temple Terrace

A bonus for workers

Fla. to end federal job aid | May 25

A better solution to the need for workers getting back to work versus eliminating unemployment benefits, would be to offer a reemployment incentive by the state to return to work. For example, how about a bonus after 6 months employment?

Adrianne Highet, Spring Hill