I think that in its April 11 editorial arguing for pressing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a two-state solution, the Star Tribune Editorial Board touched on, but overlooked, a very important question.

In the weeks before the election, Hamas stepped up violence with an increase in rocket attacks and escalations at the border. Predictably, the Israeli electorate responded by leaning right, giving the Likud the narrowest of wins and giving the right an uptick of seats.

So why does Hamas want Bibi in the premiership?

The answer is simple, I think: A leftist government would press for a two-state solution, and Hamas’ recalcitrance would be on full display. To the right of Netanyahu, Hamas might face a true existential threat.

Netanyahu neither has it in him to crush Hamas nor to negotiate with them. It is Bibi’s unwillingness to fully commit to either path that makes him such a useful tool for delegitimizing Israel through a series of minor skirmishes with no decisive outcome.

That makes Hamas the real winner in this election.

Rich Furman, St. Paul

U.S. REP. ILHAN OMAR

Her characterization last month of Sept. 11 attacks was very insensitive

Last month in a speech before the Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar characterized Sept. 11, 2001, as the day “some people did something.” (“Rep. Ilhan Omar faces heat from right over 9/11 remark,” Star Tribune.com, April 11.) This is an unbelievable description of a day on which Muslim terrorists murdered 3,000 Americans. A day that still brings tears to the eyes of many Americans. Do we blame all Muslims for this? Of course not. But it was one of the most terrible days in America’s history and deserves to be referred to with respect.

Chris Schonning, Andover

VACCINATIONS

If proponents feel they’re safe, they must explain the problems we see

The vast majority now supports all attempts to require 100 percent compliance with national vaccination policies for the “common good.” (“Two choices: One involving a mandate; the other, persuasion,” Readers Write, April 11.) Back in the 1940s and ’50s, we received relatively few vaccinations compared with the vast array required today. There was good discipline, and there were very few of the children now known as special-needs students, while our schools are full of them today. Special needs consume a major portion of our school budgets that require ever-higher taxes from all of us.

The medical industry and our government say all the vaccination activity is perfectly safe and has nothing to do with autism or anything else leading to special needs, yet they offer no proven alternative causes. What confidence in that? One of our daughters doesn’t vaccinate her healthy children, and she has been politically active to maintain family freedom of choice on this issue. She has even thought of home schooling or moving to another state if necessary to maintain that freedom.

Proving the causes of autism and other special-needs problems is not an unreasonable expectation for all the families distraught over subjecting their children to the unknowns of vaccination standards.

Michael Tillemans, Minneapolis

WATER QUALITY

Talk is one thing but action in our state indicates quite another

How can I possibly be reading another article about clean water and the Mississippi Headwaters? (“Mississippi Headwaters need attention sooner, not later,” by Ecolab CEO Doug Baker, Opinion Exchange, April 8).

If we don’t address the entirety of the challenges that exist today throughout the upper Mississippi, the projections by Ecolab of future costs to keep these precious waters clean will be even more overwhelming. Yet, the state of Minnesota is in the final stages of approving the construction of an Enbridge pipeline through this very area, the watershed lakes and streams of the Mississippi Headwaters. We all know that it is only a matter of when, not if, there will be a fracture in the pipeline that will likely spill thousands of gallons through this same waterway that the Nature Conservancy suggests needs protection or restoration. Does any of this make any sense? Or is it all big business dictating with dollars and false promises what will or will not be a certainty? We need common sense in the effort to protect and preserve our valuable natural resource of water throughout Minnesota.

Maureen Adams, Eden Prairie

TRUMP AND TAXES, PART ONE

The end of filing season is perhaps not the time to brag about ‘cuts’

I hear that President Donald Trump is coming to Minnesota to brag about his middle-class tax cuts (“Trump to visit Twin Cities area, but location not yet disclosed,” April 11). We haven’t heard much about those cuts lately. I wonder if it’s because many of us haven’t benefited from the changes. Personally, I just finished preparing my taxes and — surprise, surprise — my federal burden was essentially unchanged from last year, while my state burden actually went up. Please note that I’m not talking about my refund, but actual taxes paid. Thanks, Republicans and President Trump.

Kenneth Thielman, Woodbury

TRUMP AND TAXES, PART TWO

I want to see the returns because, frankly, sir, you seem suspicious

Dear President Trump:

Audit, schmaudit! So, you think nobody wants to see your tax returns? You’re very wrong. I, for one, want to. They should dispel or confirm my well-founded suspicion that you are hiding something (things?) very dirty and/or illegal and/or embarrassing in your personal or business backgrounds, or both, that you feel will affect your presidency and could have, or should have, affected your candidacy. We already know about the hush money to mistresses and the nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) that were supposed to keep them quiet. You flirt with Russians. You fall in love with dictators. You run businesses into the ground and then declare bankruptcy. What other evidence of merely shady or downright illegal dealings will the returns reveal?

I have already concluded that you are a crooked, dirty businessman who has carried those traits into your political life. You have no scruples about anything related to “succeeding” in business or winning the presidency. If you want to change my mind, your tax returns would be the likely place to both begin and end. Not making these returns public is only leaving that conclusion unchallenged.

Those who don’t want to see your returns are taking you at your word. Since you have proved yourself a liar time and again on most any subject, your word is worth nothing, and I choose not to believe that you’re being honest in your income tax filings. And I know I’m not alone in that sentiment. By the way, the IRS does not do NDAs. I hope your Republican fixers spine up and don’t come to your aid on this one.

Mike Thornton, Plymouth

UNIVERSITY OF ST. THOMAS

Well, if MIAC membership is at issue and we run the numbers …

After reading Pat Reusse’s column from last week (“MIAC rivals plot ouster of St. Thomas”) and some follow-up articles on the Opinion Exchange page (“To boot or not to boot St. Thomas from the league?” April 10), I did a little research.

In the past year there have been 11 championships contested in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, both in men’s and women’s sports. The St. Thomas men won four, and they finished only third in the all-important football standings (sarcasm). The St. Thomas women won eight of 11. Maybe they should only kick out the St. Thomas women.

Disclaimer: I graduated from St. John’s University many years ago; I did not play sports, as I focused on my academics (sarcasm again).

Patrick Foley, Northfield