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President Obama's speech on the Middle East; a report on the sexual abuse scandal among Catholic priests; reactions to building mosques in the U.S.

May 23, 2011
  • Middle East: President Obama outlines U.S. policy. (Charles Dharapak / Associated Press)
Middle East: President Obama outlines U.S. policy. (Charles Dharapak…

In 1967, and now

Re "A blunt push for peace," May 20

In his speech explicitly stating America's friendship with Israel and our commitment to its security, President Obama urged the Israelis to return to their 1967 borders as a means of securing peace.

That would include relinquishing the Golan Heights, perhaps allowing Syria to resume shelling farms and homes in northern Israel (as was the case in 1967). It would also include giving up East Jerusalem and access to the Western Wall, the Jewish state's holiest site. That too was how it was in 1967. It would mean relinquishing the entire West Bank, leaving Israel in a most dangerous and precarious military position.

With "friends" like Obama, who in Israel needs enemies?

Howard Karlitz

Marina del Rey

Setting the borders for a Palestinian state the way they were before the 1967 war is the only reasonable solution. Every agreement requires compromise. Because these areas were forcibly taken, they should be given back so the Palestinian state has sufficient room for its people.

Israeli citizens settled in the West Bank against the advice of the international community, which has brought about this crisis. Israel now has more than 300,000 settlers there.

If Israel refuses to go back to the pre-1967 borders, it will show that it's not serious about peace and the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Kenneth L. Zimmerman

Huntington Beach

Given the logic of Obama's proposal that Israel return to the pre-1967 borders, the following should also occur: The U.S. must return Hawaii to the Hawaiians, much of the West to Mexico, Florida and Puerto Rico to Spain, parts of Washington state to Britain and almost all of the country to the Native Americans.

All of the above were either spoils of war or out-and-out land grabs.

Mike Sacks

Thousand Oaks

Most of Israel's Arab neighbors cannot be trusted. Israel gave up the Gaza Strip only to have Gazans elect Hamas to lead them and turn it into the source of constant missile attacks.

Now Hamas will be part of the "united" Palestinian government. Can anyone believe Hamas will ever accept Israel's existence?

Israel gave up the Sinai Peninsula and signed a peace treaty with Egypt. Now some Egyptian politicians are threatening to abandon that treaty. And the idea of giving back the Golan Heights to Syria, which continually shelled Israel, is a nonstarter.

The Arab Spring may exchange autocrats for fundamentalist governments, which are even more dangerous to Israel and the West.

Noelle Donfeld


Society's role in a church scandal

Re "Society is blamed for priest sex abuse," May 19

So the social turmoil of the 1960s and '70s is to blame for the sexual abuse by Catholic priests? Or so the Catholic bishops would have us believe, according to their independently commissioned report. That's interesting considering the abuse has been going on for much longer than 50 years.

It is more likely that these predators, once in the church, found an organization that would keep their secrets.

Teresa Pietrasanta

Oak Park

As a 73-year-old practicing Roman Catholic, I find it enormously disappointing that the research team investigating the clergy sexual abuse disaster came to such sappy conclusions. It was tough reading some of the dreadful quotes and statements offered by the group that put this report together.

Could this really be a five-year study? What a waste of time and money. My heart goes out to all the victims and their families.

What a farce.

Eileen O'Neill

West Hills

So it turns out that, according to the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, I am to blame for the sexual abuse performed by all those Catholic priests and covered up by all those Catholic bishops.

Who would've thought?

James Taylor

San Clemente

Much ado about mosques

Re "The right to a mosque," Opinion, May 19

Frank Gaffney Jr.'s group, the Center for Security Policy, declares that Sharia treats women as unequal and is incompatible with U.S. law.

But the Christian right is working to change laws here by forcing women to have babies they don't want, apparently believing women aren't able to decide for themselves and must be rigorously compelled to sacrifice themselves for the sake of some non-specific, religiously defined potential.

Devout Christians are willing to wait until pregnancy before stripping women of their civil rights as well as negatively impacting their futures, but other than timing, how are the two systems different?

Sandy Smith

Los Angeles

Gaffney and his right-wing neoconservative group need to study the twin principles guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

First, Muslims, like Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Sikhs and others, have the cherished constitutional right to exercise their religious freedom by building houses of worship so long as they comply with local zoning laws.

Second, as far as the argument that if mosques are built, Sharia will be "imposed" on the U.S.: Fortunately, the 1st Amendment also guarantees strict separation of church and state.

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