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Israel’s settlements are built in violation of international law

To The Daily Sun,

I am responding to the outcry that the recent U.N. resolution regarding settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory is unfair and one-sided. There are many Americans who really don't understand what settlements are.

The settlements are built on confiscated Palestinian land where there were homes, schools and farms. Palestinians have lived there for a few thousand years. Palestinians were among the first Christians. People are not compensated for land that is taken for cities where only non-Arab Israelis are allowed to live. They are accessed by roads on which no Palestinians are allowed to drive. These roads are also built on land confiscated from Palestinians with no compensation. How would we feel if we were forced out of Laconia and Gilford? How would we feel if everything was bulldozed and a city of concrete apartment buildings, stores, museums, swimming pools and restaurants was built on the ruins?

The settlements are built in violation of international law, the Fourth Geneva Convention, which was actually signed by Israel. This agreement states that it is illegal to build on and move into land that has been conquered. How can the Israeli government say they want to negotiate borders while continuing to confiscate land?

Since I was last in Israel and the Occupied West Bank, Israel has continued to displace even more Palestinians from their land, and the U.S. still pretends we can help bring about peace while arming Israel.

However, I also see hope because the discourse around Palestine in the U.S. is changing. The movement for Palestinian rights is again seen as part of other struggles for justice. People of conscience worldwide are taking action in solidarity with the struggle for freedom, justice, and equality.

I am hopeful that many more people will join with organizations such as Jewish Voice for Peace and Rabbis for Human Rights to stand for justice for the people of Palestine.

Janet Simmon

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Blind devotion to idealogy is the real disservice to taxpayers

To The Daily Sun,

In his reply to my Dec. 24 letter to the editor, Rep. Peter Spanos defended the actions that he and other Belknap County state reps took in voting not to transfer funds to pay county employees their last paycheck of the year. Rep. Spanos references the fiduciary responsibility that the members of the Delegation have to the taxpayers of Belknap County. Doesn't that same responsibility extend to the employees of the county?

The careful examination that Rep. Spanos notes as required is what should take place when the Delegation approves the hiring of employees and the funding of their salaries. Once those employees are hired and their salaries funded, there should be absolutely no question that they be paid. In fact, it is a legal obligation to pay employees.

This was a simple matter of a line-item transfer in the budget. As a member of the House Finance Committee, Rep. Spanos is surely familiar with the routine nature of line-item transfers to cover approved expenses. The salaries of county employees are clearly approved expenses. Obviously Rep. David Huot's argument that they were in error not to pay the employees their final payment check made sense to Rep. Spanos as he and Rep. Vadney changed their votes to allow the transfer.

It seems to me that the disservice done to all of us who pay our fair share of taxes was done by those of you voting against paying employees, not by me for pointing it out. The "no" votes appear to have been ones of ideology, not votes taken in the interest of the employees or the taxpayers. Having attended many Delegation meetings over the years, in the last six years I have observed a very clear change in the Delegation, how they vote and what concerns them. Most notable is the dramatic change in the way the State Reps interact with the (County) Commissioners, who are also elected by us.

Since the rise of the Tea Party and the Free State movement, the Belknap County Delegation has been very much impacted by State Reps who are blindly driven by ideology before anything else. Reps. Abear and Sylvia are continuing this blind ideology focus that we have seen over the years from Reps. Worsman, Greemore, Vadney, Burchell, Cormier, Aldrich and alike. Rep. Worsman chaired a Delegation that was marked by clear animus from the State Reps directed toward the commissioners and county employees; animus that continues today. The Delegation not working together productively is what is really a disservice to we taxpayers. Perhaps Rep. Huot and others can bring some much-needed civility and reasonableness to the Belknap Delegation.

Denise Doyle


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