President Obama's calling on Israel to use its 1967 borders as the basis for negotiations with the Palestinians ("Obama reiterates Israel stance," Monday) is to be applauded.
Of course, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wasted no time in denouncing the proposal. "The viability of a Palestinian state," Netanyahu said, "cannot come at the expense of Israel's existence." But isn't that exactly what Israel has done to the Palestinians? Isn't Israel's continual building of settlements on the West Bank depriving the Palestinians of the same thing that Netanyahu wants for Israel?
Both peoples deserve better. Both deserve to live in peace with dignity, pride, and self-reliance.
America's commitment to Israel's security must remain unshakable, but it also must not come at the expense of the Palestinians.
John J. Pino
President Obama has proposed that peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians start with the 1967 borders. Here's some history on the subject:
The 1948 armistice line was negotiated on the basis of the military situation at the end of the Israeli War of Independence, during which the armies of Transjordan, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq expelled Jews from the old city of Jerusalem after months of bitter and bloody fighting. Jews had maintained a continuous presence in the Old City since the days of King David. Even under the Turks, Jews constituted a plurality of the population of Jerusalem. In 1948, the Arabs evicted the Jews, excluding them from visiting Jewish holy places and desecrating Jewish cemeteries.
The Israelis occupied the Old City of Jerusalem in 1967 by force of arms, just as the Arabs had in 1948, but they did not expel the Arabs or keep them from visiting their holy places. The whole city of Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. It should and will remain that way whether the president likes it or not.
Jerry D. Glickson
An editorial on Monday ("Police protect their own") makes much of the fact that "prosecutors say they believe [State Police Detective Sgt. William] Billingham was under the influence of alcohol at the time of [a] predawn rear-end crash." Anyone reading the editorial would presume Billingham was in fact intoxicated. But apart from the opinion of unnamed prosecutors, no evidence is adduced in support of this. Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?
Billingham has not only served the New Jersey State Police for years, but has also served his community even longer. As a lifelong martial artist, he has been a mentor and leader to many youths in his community. He deserves better treatment than The Inquirer has given him.
Kurt Levins Sr.
Monday's letter regarding Marcellus Shale drilling and water safety ("Drilling does not threaten water") was rife with inaccuracies.
Natural gas may be "clean-burning," but it still contributes significantly to global warming. Although drilling takes place "more than 150 miles north of the city," much drinking water originates precisely in that region. When Pennsylvania American Water stated that water wasn't impacted by Marcellus Shale drilling, it was citing only a few tests conducted in the Pittsburgh region, not statewide.
As Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said, one is entitled to one's own opinions, but not one's own facts.
To some, religion comes too late. Edward J. Sozanski's Sunday column ("Barnes' soul will stay behind") suggests Sozanski has had an epiphany. He says that "the Replica (or if you prefer, the Faux Barnes) will be a different institution, a museum with members instead of a school."
Where ya been, Ed? That is the entire point of the controlling document that has been eviscerated.
Mark D. Schwartz
According to an article by Peter Dobrin on Sunday ("Orchestra's bankruptcy risks forfeit of $50M gift"), the Annenberg Foundation "may ask for [its] money back if the orchestra files for bankruptcy."
Well, given that the foundation was one of the chief proponents of violating the will of Dr. Albert C. Barnes, why should anyone think twice about breaking the terms of Leonore Annenberg's donor agreement with the Philadelphia Orchestra?
After all, it's for the arts.
Regarding both Karen Heller's Sunday column ("Strauss-Kahn, Schwarzenegger, Gingrich: Powerful men doing stupid things") and Dick Polman's piece the same day ("Powerful men abusing their power"): I am convinced that Arnold Schwarzenegger is a fine man, a loving husband, and a good father. Furthermore, he can financially afford to spread his seed around, then pay the bill to cover it.
Maria should cut him a break.