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Territories not 'disputed'

Re: Crimea, Israel analogy flawed, Letters, March 25.

Mike Fegelman, executive director of a pro-Israel advocacy group, contends that the legal status of the Palestinian territories is "disputed," in accordance with UN resolutions 242 and 338. This is incorrect.

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Israel and its advocates are injecting the term "disputed" into the discourse in an attempt to dismiss the notion that it is occupying the Palestinian territories. The word "disputed" can't be substituted for the word "occupied," as if to put on equal footing Palestinians' legal right to the land and Israel's illegal occupation of it.

In 2004, the International Court of Justice ruled in an advisory opinion that Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem are occupied Palestinian territories, that Israel's settlements and separation barrier built on them are illegal and that they must be dismantled and the victims compensated.

In conferring non-member-state status on Palestine in November 2012, the UN General Assembly affirmed "that the status of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, remains one of military occupation."

The opening words of UN Resolution 242 are: "Emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war... " And no, it doesn't matter "who started it."

While occupation itself isn't illegal (although it is supposed to be temporary), almost everything Israel is doing in the occupied Palestinian territories -- building settlements, destroying Palestinian property, constructing the separation barrier -- is illegal and must stop.


Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East


Garbage pickup not that bad

If I were to judge solely by the media coverage, I would say the city's garbage and recycling program has been a disaster (Councillors dump on Emterra, March 27).

Fortunately, I have eyes in my head that can see our house hasn't been missed once. The new system is better in every respect. Pickups are almost never late, include yard waste, and are detailed on an easy-to-follow calendar.

Perhaps we're just lucky, but I think the Emterra program is a vast improvement. Under the old system, we often waited days for service during which our recycling would blow about the street and our garbage would block our driveway.

I certainly don't miss all the mess the old system left behind as the trucks drove away.





I can only speak about my area of Garden City, but it seems Emterra has had very adequate service. Yes, there were a few issues within the first month of Emterra taking over both garbage and recycling, but since the initial growing pains of the company starting the service, everything has been going quite well.

With our intense winter, nearly impassable back lanes and streets quite treacherous for driving, it's no wonder the large trucks utilized for this service have had problems.

Do we really want to explore another company and potentially pay far more, only to find out there's only so much that can be done given the conditions we endured this winter?




Cottage fee fair

It's been a long time since I've agreed with any policy being implemented by the NDP, but charging a higher fee to cottagers in provincial parks is one of them (Where is our money going?, March 28).

Yes, it's a "cheap tax grab," but every time any tax increase occurs, we scream demanding accountability and transparency, to no avail.

I agree with Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh that "no other Manitoban has their vacation or cottage investment tax subsidized," and that park cottages should pay their way like every other Manitoban.

This probably sounds like sour grapes -- my family owns a cottage outside of a provincial park -- but in my mind it's about tax fairness, if indeed there is such a thing.




Stadium funding offside

Re: Rise in stadium cost just leaves me cold, March 27.

How can Premier Greg Selinger come up with an extra $4 million at the mere mention of anything to do with football, but claims to not have any disposable funds to help people who don't have any water due to frozen supply lines?

The city is only requesting $750,000 of emergency funds. Where is this government's priorities?




Pick up after dogs

As a member of two walking groups, I often walk the Assiniboine Forest paths.

Last weekend, our group was amazed and disgusted with the piles of dog crap littering the trail.

The city does a wonderful job of keeping these trails open and provides pickup bags and garbage receptacles for dog owners.

If these owners are too lazy or ignorant to pick up after their animal, we need to ban the animals from the park.




No help for disenfranchised

The world comes to aid of embattled Ukraine (March 28), with an $18-billion loan guarantee from the International Monetary Fund, coupled with austerity.

Ukraine now joins Greece, Ireland and Spain with lower wages and pensions, higher energy bills, extreme unemployment and more poverty. Most of the $18 billion will go to Ukraine's major creditor, Russia, which will drop its energy subsidy to Ukraine.

Stephen Harper, meanwhile, spouts off at Vladimir Putin for interfering in Ukraine's democratic rights as he attempts to disenfranchise half a million Canadians, prevent Elections Canada from notifying people when to vote, limit its powers to prevent robocalls and place its investigative powers under Conservative control.

What's wrong with this picture?



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 29, 2014 A16

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