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Letters to the editor

Maricopa County's controversial sheriff; a pay raise for a stem cell advisor; Israel's 'legal' settlements

December 15, 2009

He courts controversy

Re “Crusading sheriff takes on his foes,” Dec. 12

Because it's common knowledge that

The Times has strong feelings of sympathy toward the plight of illegal aliens, it comes as no surprise that your recent article covering Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio would portray him in a negative light.

Say what you want about the guy, but I love him. I wish he'd run for president. There must be other people who like him as well, because your article mentioned his reelection victory last year with 55% of the vote in Arizona's most populous county.

If this nation had about 500 more Joe Arpaios, the illegal alien problem, and its associated chaos, would be nonexistent. He's unique among politicians: one of those who refuses to have his better judgment clouded by political correctness and bleeding heart liberalism.

Maybe Lou Dobbs can be his running mate in 2012. They'll have my vote!

David Arthur

I had to read this article twice.

Arpaio's dubious tactics include ordering investigations of officials in Maricopa County and others simply because they do not agree with his tactics. He shows a lack of respect for federal laws.

I initially thought I was reading the story of a Third World dictator. To my amazement, I learned Arpaio is a sheriff in Arizona.

Hugo Pastore

Questioning a pay raise

Re "Stem cell agency to pay No. 2 leader $225,000," Dec. 11

It is an abomination that the governing board of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine has tripled the part-time salary of Democratic Party insider Art Torres. This is a clear example of the kind of conduct that Californians are tired of. Our state is ready to tank, yet these board bureaucrats continue with the same policy of excess -- and taking care of their own -- that has led us to this point.

What Torres understands about stem cell research could fill a thimble. The previous salary of $75,000 was too much.

Action must be taken to reverse this decision. But who among our elected officials will take up the cause?

John Stites
Avocado Heights, Calif.

Nothing settled about settlements

Re “A right to build,” Opinion, Dec. 11

I was surprised to see such a propagandistic article in this paper, when The Times has routinely had higher standards.

The illegality of Israeli settlements in the West Bank is widely agreed on in the arena of international law, and suggesting otherwise is merely an attempt to legitimize the ugliness of colonialism.

When Israel began to aggressively colonize the occupied territories, President Carter's secretary of State, Cyrus Vance, requested a legal opinion on the issue. Citing a variety of legal literature, including the 4th Geneva Convention, the legal opinion concludes: "The establishment of the civilian settlements in those territories is inconsistent with international law." Every U.S. administration since has maintained this standard.

The movement to colonize the rest of historic Palestine is a repulsive thing, and it remains so even when its proponents attempt to disguise it with legalistic costumes.

Yousef Munayyer
The writer is executive director of the Jerusalem Fund and the Palestine Center.

I am a supporter of Israel, but I get queasy hearing from people like Eric Rozenman, who claims that the settlements Israel is building in the West Bank are legal under international law.

I consider the West Bank settlers a bunch of Jewish bullies and fascists.

I have no illusions about the real threat that Israel faces from Arab terrorists, and the difficulty in finding moderates on the other side to negotiate with.

Because the United States sends billions of dollars in aid to Israel every year, the Obama administration has every right to insist that Israel conduct itself on a higher level than its enemies.

Steve Asimow

No peace, and who's to blame

Re “A not so Nobel effort,” Opinion, Dec. 10

President Obama's first call to a foreign leader was to Mahmoud Abbas, president of an as-yet-nonexistent Palestinian state.

Obama's first interview as president was to Al Arabiya, mouthpiece to the Arab world.

One of Obama's first major foreign speeches was in Cairo, cultural center of the Arab world.

And what were the Arab world's responses? Silence, and a Palestinian demand not to return to existing negotiations until Israel submits to maximalist demands that were not posed in previous negotiations.

Scott MacLeod doesn't understand the Arab world. It is not for lack of American or Israeli effort that there is no Middle East peace, but rather it is because of the willingness of Arabs to make maximalist demands and wait everyone out until those demands are met.

Betzalel "Bitzy" N. Eichenbaum

MacLeod states that "the U.S. failed to publicly support the Palestinian demand for statehood until 2002 -- 54 years after Israel's independence." True.

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