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Israel not responsible for Mideast strife
Lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians cannot come through a unilateral declaration, but can only come through negotiations that settle all the outstanding issues to the satisfaction of both sides and mutual respect and security. Hamas and most Muslim countries refuse to acknowledge that Israel has the right to exist. Until this is changed, no peace will occur.
A majority of U.S. voters oppose a unilaterally declared Palestinian state, according to a recent survey. If any Palestinian nation is declared, and there never has been one, then the land must come from Arab lands, not from any land that belongs to Israel.
The Palestinians are seeking recognition for a state that includes in its government Hamas, an Iran-backed, U.S. State Department-designated foreign terrorist organization that is responsible for firing thousands of rockets at civilian targets in Israel. This behavior is not the behavior of anybody looking for peace. They are not looking for “peace” but for “piece.”
The Palestinians must stop teaching their children to hate Israelis and Jews and stop naming streets and squares after terrorists. They should return to negotiations without preconditions with Israel immediately.
Despite the claims that Israel is hostile, Israel has never attacked anyone unprovoked. It has always defended herself from attack from Egypt, Syria and other Arab nations. A little more than four months into 2011, Hamas terrorists armed and financed by Iran had already fired more than 300 mortars and rockets at Israeli towns and villages— including firing an anti-tank missile that killed a teenager on his way home from school. This, despite the fact that Israel withdrew its troops and removed its settlements from Gaza in 2005 and no longer wants to be involved in the lives of Gazans, except for providing them with humanitarian aid.
If the Arabs laid down their arms today, there would be peace. If Israel laid down her arms today, tomorrow she would not exist. The problems in the Middle East are not Israel.
Pastor Roger Anghis

Witwer’s take on freedom skewed
Editor: In a recent column, Rob Witwer asks whether freedom or government came first. Like his conservative brethren, he supposes that freedom and government are diametric opposites. Here at home do we not have both freedom and government? Perhaps what Mr. Witwer means by freedom is advantage? Advantage did precede government, and advantage motivated the necessity of government.
The biggest, baddest caveman was honored for his prowess in the hunt and no doubt had his choice of the best morsels and the fairest cave-lady. But if he ate too much and took too many liberties, the lesser cave folk together brought him down. Similarly, the cave folk together organized collective efforts to drive horrible heffelumps over the cliff. Here began the essence of government: regulation of undue advantage plus collective effort for long-term goals.
Regulation to prevent clear-cutting of the redwoods, deep-sea drilling without blowout preventers, vintners putting antifreeze in the wine, dirty meatpacking plants, unsafe automobiles, serial killers … but also collective efforts for long-term medical research, flood control, exploration of space, scientific research, scholarships, and on and on. These are our real freedoms!
Lindrith Cordell
Jefferson County