Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Letters to the Editor

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Letters to the Editor

Article excerpt

Israel should release Palestinian prisoners

Regarding the Dec. 15 Opinion piece, "Israel's plan to free Palestinian prisoners is foolish - and illegal": Author Louis Rene Beres's argument, while sound on the surface, is predicated on two myopic assumptions about the situation.

First, he asserts that "No government has the legal right to free terrorists as a goodwill gesture." His condemnation is based on the grounds that Israel, and every other state, has a responsibility to punish terrorists. However, his quote from the Nuremberg Principles reveals his mistake - these principles are a product of a war crimes tribunal. There has been no such tribunal for the Palestinians, who Professor Beres asserts are terrorists. To call them terrorists without proof, and continue to hold them captive, is an injustice.

Second, Israel has yet to conform to international law in many other ways. The occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is not justified by international law. The presence of Israeli settlers on the West Bank is, itself, a war crime. I do not doubt that many of the alleged terrorists being released were detained on Palestinian land by agents of a foreign government. The fact that Beres does not acknowledge this precursor to the "crime" being committed in releasing these people calls into question his commitment to the law and justice in this commentary.

Brian Cribbin Albuquerque, N.M.

Thoughts on columnist Mel Maddocks

In regard to the Nov. 28 commentary, "Melvin Maddocks: an appreciation": Thank you for this essay by Rod Nordell on the passing of Mel Maddocks.

As a newly minted college grad from the University of California, Berkeley, I had the extreme pleasure of working with Mel in the late 1950s. Mel was a wonderful mentor for me. He always seemed delighted to peruse my latest journalistic efforts. He took a great interest in budding journalists and always offered us encouragement and hope. With a twinkle in his eye, he would make some dry comment that would send us away chuckling. …

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