I am concerned about your editorial comment regarding Israel ("Cease Fire," Urban Journal, July 26). I posit a very unlikely hypothetical: Al Qaeda is lodged in homes and office buildings in Niagara Falls, Canada. With no apparent cause, they have crossed the RainbowBridge and seized two US Border Patrol officers and dragged them across the border, killing eight others in the process. When the US crossed the border to retrieve them they launched a rocket attack on Niagara Falls, Buffalo, and Rochester.

Just how happy would our citizens be if we did not try to stop the attacks with the excuse that civilians would be hurt and killed by our attempts to stop it? We would not tolerate it.

Israel responded to attacks on its soldiers followed by indiscriminate rocket attacks on its civilian population. The very nature of low-tech, inaccurate missiles is that there is no concern about where they land or who is killed. Israel is using precision weapons attempting to hit military targets that are intentionally imbedded in a civilian population to cause just the kind of backlash your editorial represents.

Failure to wipe out the source is to agree to live next to a ticking time bomb. Hezbollah and its backers have made no secret of their goal: it is the destruction of Israel and pushing any surviving Jews into the sea. So long as they have one rocket, they will bide their time waiting for the most painful moment to use it.

A cease fire must be monitored by some impartial international force. There has never been such a force. The UN in the guise of UNFIL has monitored the importation and hiding of over 12,000 missiles and the building of major underground bunkers by a known terrorist organization in Lebanon, Hezbollah, over the past 6 years. The head of the UN condemned Israel for the death of four UN soldiers and THEN called for an investigation. What is to investigate? The condemnation has been issued. For all we know, the UN outpost was on top of a Hezbollah outpost. They hide behind school children and hospitals and mosques. Why not the UN?

Israel cannot trust any international agency with its survival. It has a history of having those very organizations help the enemy and then vanish the moment they are supposed to prevent the attack. Read your history of 1967. The UN and the US provided a buffer between Israel and Egypt. Egypt said "leave," and they were gone in a week.

There is an international force guarding the Erez crossing from Egypt into Gaza to prevent the importation of weapons into Gaza. Within a week after setting it up, the Israelis witnessed the guards turning a blind eye to weapons crossing into Gaza.

A cease fire is a chance for Hezbollah to rearm. Without continual pressure on ports and the airport and the roads from Syria, vast caravans of weapons will flow from Iran through northern Iraq into Syria for distribution to the hidden Hezbollah fighters. The weapons are already in Syria awaiting a breather so they can move.

I was recently in Nahariya, a lovely beach resort community not more than 10 miles south of Lebanon. The hotels are closed, the beaches are deserted, and the people are living in their safe rooms. Every building, every home has one. The hotel we were in had a wonderful play room in the basement outfitted with a great assortment of kids' playground equipment and a heavy blast door and ventilators.

Israel has lived with the threat and the reality of attack since its founding 58 years ago. The Arab world attacked on the day of the creation of the state and told its people to leave so they could kill everyone indiscriminately and they would be able to return in a week. They did not succeed then, and they made no provision for the refugees they created, and thus we have the displaced Palestinians 58 years later.

I hate the death of innocent people, all innocent people. Hezbollah is the murderer in Israel and in Lebanon. We in the US have more to fear from Hezbollah today than from Al Qaeda. They have no regard for human life and will hide behind their mothers' skirts while firing rockets into Israeli towns and villages.

Paul Goldberg, East Avenue, Rochester


For decades, the Monroe County Water Authority was required to hold hearings on water rates and other consequential matters. But in the 1970s, when Republicans controlled both houses of the State Legislature, Assemblymember Don Cook of Henrietta introduced legislation exempting the authority from public scrutiny. (The legislation required the authority to routinely report --- but not publicly --- to another agency, the State Department of Transportation.)

At the time, the Democrat and Chronicleconsidered it too routine to report, but I wrote it for the old weekly, the Rochester Patriot.

So we arrive at the present. While assessing and spending millions in public funds, the Water Authority does not report publicly.

With the State Legislature politically divided, I doubt that the Water Authority, now staffed and led by Republican appointees, will again be required to report to the public.

Unless, that is, Eliot Spitzer's expected gubernatorial victory carries over into the State Senate, and the Democrats take over there.

Mitchell Kaidy, Crittenden Road, Rochester


Lorie Banker was one of my son's nurses eight years ago in the Strong Neonatal Intensive Care Unit ("Present Tense," July 19). Born at 24 weeks and weighing just over 1.5 pounds, our baby had the dubious distinction of being the smallest and one of the sickest babies born at Strong that month.

During the four months our son was in the hospital, during the seemingly endless hours each day I spent sitting next to his incubator, I became very attached to his team of nurses and developed enormous respect for their skills, knowledge, and compassion. While the physicians who supervised and made all the decisions about our baby's care would see him during rounds for a few minutes, it was the nurses who were at his incubator side literally every minute of every day.

Now our son is a completely healthy, happy, intelligent, wonderful 8-year-old boy. I will be forever grateful to Lorie and to all the nurses who cared for my baby and who, frankly, cared for me, too, during what were the longest, scariest, hardest days of my life.

Thank you for highlighting the extremely important and very difficult work they do. Anne Merideth, Brighton


We welcome and encourage readers' letters for publication. Send them to: themail@rochester-citynews.com or The Mail, City Newspaper, 250 North Goodman Street, Rochester14607.

Our guidelines: We don't publish anonymous letters --- and we ask that you include your street name and city/town/village. We don't publish letters that have been sent to other media --- and we don't publish form letters generated by activist groups. While we don't restrict length, letters of under 350 words have a greater chance of being published. We do edit letters for clarity and brevity. And in general we don't publish letters (or longer "op-ed" pieces) from the same writer more often than about once every two months.