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Middle East Politics

June 18, 1995

The Anti-Defamation League has received several copies of the April 30, 1995, review "Speaking for Those Who Can't" by David Gilmour. We feel this piece merits a response.

In his review of Hanan Ashraw's book, "This Side of Peace," David Gilmour offers a gratuitous and false analysis of the politics of the Middle East. One example will suffice.

In Gilmour's view, "the most crucial step required by the peace process was (and is) an end to the construction and expansion of settlements on the West Bank. . . ." Really? What about the Islamic extremist movement's ongoing rejection of the very existence of a Jewish state in the region? What about the terrorism that has claimed the lives of over 120 Israelis since September, 1993? What about statements such as "the Islamic movement gives its condolences to the hero of the attack that led to the killing of 20 pigs and the injuring of 60 monkeys?" The pigs and monkeys, or course, were the Israelis.

And, those issues aside, aren't peace and stability in the region affected by, for example, the fact that Iran is the leading state sponsor of international terrorism and is aggressively pursuing the procurement of weapons of mass destruction?

Gilmour is entitled to his opinion vis-a-vis the impediments to peace in the Middle East. But holding up Israeli settlements in the territories as the major obstacle is not only overly simplistic, it's factually inaccurate.

CHERYL CUTLER AZAIR, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, LOS ANGELES

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