<b>West Bank settlements</b>
EDITOR: Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel have gone over the top again, deciding to "punish" the Palestinians for seeking quasi-membership status in the U.N. by announcing plans for more settlements in the West Bank — but this time in the critical E1-corridor, which will divide the Palestinians' West Bank into two.
Most Americans are unaware of the extent of the Israeli settlements (illegal under international law) — 500,000 Jews in 130 enclaves every 10 miles or so throughout the West Bank — and why Israel keeps pushing more of them.
Most Americans don't also know that the 15 percent of Israelis who are ultra-conservative religious and political Zionists, who consider the West Bank part of their "Eretz Israel" (the land of Israel), are aggressively driving Israel's policies. Their declared goal is to keep expanding settlements in the West Bank until a two-state solution — i.e. any Palestinian "nation" — becomes physically impossible.
Four million Palestinians have lived under Israeli Occupation for 45 years. No other large population has been denied self-governing nationhood for so long.
How sad their reasonable desire for recognition in the U.N. triggered this vindictive Israeli response, which will now make becoming their own country that much more impossible.
<b>Crossing the aisle</b>
EDITOR: Erin Carlstrom hit a home run with her very first vote on the Santa Rosa City Council and deserves a huge thank you from all of us ("Bartley new mayor of SR," Wednesday). She had promised to work across the aisle and, in voting for Scott Bartley for mayor, she lived up to her word.