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Wrong focus by Cardenas

Updated: December 20, 2012 6:10AM

Ald. George Cardenas (12th), chairman of the City Council’s Health Committee, wants to ban the sale of energy drinks in Chicago to anyone under the age of 21. Meanwhile in his ward, 39 shootings resulting in 12 murders, two of which were within a quarter mile of his home, happened between June 2011 and July 2012. Mr. Cardenas, how many people in your ward, or the entire city for that matter, died from energy drinks? I’m just curious what you’re doing about the murder problem, seeing that taking another’s life is a health-related issue.

Michael McCune, Tinley Park

Fioretti stands up to Emanuel

As a disabled cancer survivor, I must give a great deal of praise to fellow cancer survivor Ald. Bob Fioretti. He was one of three aldermen who had the courage and integrity to stand up to Mayor Rahm Emanuel on his budget — a budget that does not in any way, shape or form address the growing crime problem in this city by hiring more police. When Emanuel ran, he spoke of transparency and reform. What a joke that was. His first order of business was to install Daley Machine hack Pat O’Connor as his City Council floor leader. Then Emanuel was afraid to take away powerful Ald. Ed Burke’s personal bodyguard entourage. He then pandered to black and Latino aldermen by having another Machine henchman, Blago father-in-law Richard Mell, make the new ward boundaries to take out Fioretti while helping those aldermen who toe the mayor’s line, not voting against questionable city deals like the new billboard scam. Come on, people, wake up to what Emanuel is doing and call him on it.

Ken Gaines, Near West Side

Israel is right to protect itself

As you tuck your children into bed tonight, try to imagine what life is like for the children of southern Israel. For years they have been subjected to a life of sudden terror in the form of indiscriminate rocket attacks deliberately aimed at their schools, hospitals and residences. In recent days, these attacks have intensified, with over 800 rocket and mortar shells daily threatening and disrupting the lives over 1 million Israeli citizens. Israel disengaged from Gaza completely in 2005, leaving the area to its residents. Rather than taking advantage of this freedom to create a thriving, productive community, Hamas chose to turn Gaza into a giant ammunition dump, with weapons smuggled from Iran, Sudan and Libya. Gaza has become a breeding ground for terrorists from all over the Middle East, including associates of al-Qaida and Global Jihad. The sheer number and enhanced lethalness of these weapons now pose a danger to a larger and larger portion of the Israeli civilian population. This area now encompasses Tel Aviv. Almost two-thirds of Israel’s population is now under siege.

Israel’s defensive operation, Operation Pillar of Defense, is aimed at reducing Hamas’ ability to launch long-range rockets, as well as to remove some of its top commanders. Unlike Hamas, which commits a double war crime by targeting civilians in Israel and using human shields in Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces are making the utmost effort to minimize the harm to civilians. The unscrupulous placement of Hamas rocket launchers within dense residential areas makes that effort extremely challenging. Israel has exhibited great restraint for a long time, but it is not possible for any government to tolerate recurring attacks on its citizens. Can anyone imagine the government of the United States accepting an attack on Highland Park from the government of Milwaukee, or the citizens of El Paso sitting idly by while being bombarded by rockets from northern Mexico? The international community must act to stop these attacks from the Gaza Strip and the citizens of all nations should protest the targeting of women, children and the elderly by the terrorist government of Hamas.

Susanna McNeil, Lincoln Park

Netanyahu standing in way

There is plenty of blame to go around when it comes to the recent turmoil in Gaza and Israel, but columnist Steve Huntley performs a grave disservice by focusing only on the Palestinians.

Certainly, many Palestinians have always been against the state of Israel, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has never been a reliable person that the Palestinians or the Americans could deal with. He is never willing to concede anything of importance, and has made the situation worse by not halting Israeli construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Unwilling to compromise, he has insisted that there will be no return to the pre-1967 boundaries. Bombastically, he has insisted that some settlements beyond the pre-1967 boundaries become permanent parts of the Jewish state and that Jerusalem “will never again be divided.”

The American envoy Dennis Ross spent a number of years trying to broker a negotiated settlement in that troubled region and found Netanyahu “nearly insufferable.” Consequently it should come as no surprise that the prospects for a two-state solution are remote as long as he is prime minister, and that more death and destruction will be his legacy which will be detrimental to both the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Larry Vigon, Jefferson Park

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