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<b>Historical context</b>

EDITOR: In the aftermath of the most recent conflict between Israel and the terrorists in Gaza, you have published several letters claiming that Israel illegally occupies Palestinian territory. It is important to remember what has actually transpired between the Israelis and Palestinians in order to put the recent conflict into perspective.

Egypt ceded the Gaza Strip to Israel in an armistice agreement signed in 1949. In the 1967 war, Israel won East Jerusalem and the West Bank from Jordan. In a later peace treaty, signed in 1994, Jordan officially ceded those areas to Israel. In other words, the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem and the West Bank are sovereign Israeli territory, just as Texas and California are sovereign American territory.

We must remember that Israel has every right to defend itself against an organization that has the destruction of Israel in its constitution. If Mexico was launching missiles indiscriminately into California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, would we not feel justified into taking action to defend ourselves? We must keep the history of the Middle East in context when we weigh Israel's actions to defend itself.

JOE GAFFNEY

Rohnert Park

<b>Following the rules</b>

EDITOR: Jacobo Farias-Chavez claims to be a "good member of society," who "followed the rules" ("Advocates say net snags nonserious offenders," Sunday). Really?

Now that Sonoma County has become a safe haven for illegal immigrants, it is not surprising that undocumented immigrants have adopted this entitlement attitude, conveniently forgetting they arrived here illegally. Is it any wonder the county added 55 government jobs to handle social welfare services? Why am I obliged to support illegal immigrants who flock to the Sonoma welfare trough?

BILL DUFEK

Santa Rosa

<b>The tipping point</b>

EDITOR: I cannot believe the decision by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar ("Oyster farm closing," Friday). I'm furious with the Sierra Club and all those who are anxious to regulate everyone. They have no right to take away this family-run company that has provided the best oysters in the U.S. It is a great loss for all of us who believe in free enterprise. Drakes Bay Oyster Co. harmed no one and has been needlessly put out of business because of the political power of a few with lots of money. Our country is becoming a dictatorship by the idle and bored looking for meaning in their lives.

The entire Point Reyes park is a gem with the dairies and oyster farm included. The next target will be the dairies for sure. Segments of our society are bent on destroying all those who work hard to make a living with their hands and replace them with those who have never created a business or employed anyone.

President Barack Obama needs to intervene here as his secretary has made a serious mistake, and this mistake needs to be broadcast to the nation. This seemingly small decision in this corner of the U.S. is the tipping point of over-regulation. This cannot stand.

PATRICK G. PAGLEN

Santa Rosa

<b>Time for a change</b>

EDITOR: I saw this and a thought crossed my mind: "Every year, 24/7 Wall St. conducts an extensive survey of all fifty states in America. Based on a review of data on financial health, standard of living and government services by state we determine how well each state is managed. For the first time, North Dakota is the best run. California is the worst run for the second year in a row." The thought was, why do Californians keep voting for incumbents?

BOB PROCTOR

Rohnert Park

<b>Empirical evidence</b>

EDITOR: At this time in our planet's history, it is the melting glaciers and melting polar ice that reveal global warming, not the changing temperatures of the air or oceans.

Because the glaciers and polar ice are melting, the earth has to be warming. No reasonable person can dispute this no matter what the temperatures of the air and water might be.

So, John Jackson's letter ("No evidence," Nov. 16) and Steve Graves' letter ("No repudiation," Monday), which both conclude the earth has had no scientifically significant warming in the past 15 years, are obviously false.

The earth is warming even faster than was predicted 15 years ago because it is known that the ice is melting faster than scientists expected.

FRED MARTIN

Sebastopol