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Israel and Expanded Settlement Activity

December 29, 1996

* Yossi Klein Halevi ("Netanyahu Is Not the Demon," Commentary, Dec. 23) writes, "While all peoples have the right to be free of occupation, not every people or ethnic subgroup earns an independent state."

This is a most curious statement from a person whose own country did precisely that: carve an independent state from occupied Arab lands--formerly Ottoman--during the British Mandate of Palestine.

This leads ineluctably to the question: Who has the right to determine when or whether a people earns the right to an independent state? Certainly not the occupier. (Besides, did the Zionists wait for British approval for indepen- dence or force the issue through terrorism?)

I can only believe that it is Israeli hubris to assert that the Palestinians are not entitled to an independent state.

ARCH MILLER

Arcadia

* The Times editorialized on Dec. 18: "By encouraging an expansion of settlement activity the Netanyahu government . . . is moving to foreclose options that good-faith bargaining requires should be left open." The Times appears to advocate that only Jews should not be allowed to build homes in Judea, and that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu renege on the platform for which he was elected: not to discriminate between Jews living in Judea or any other part of Israel.

You must be aware that Arabs are building unchecked in Judea, both residential, public and industrial buildings, without even taking out building permits. Arabs just build without having to show that they own the land. Jews, on the other hand, build only by permit and on empty land that they must prove they own.

Is it fair to say that Judea, the cradle of the Jewish people, should be "Judenrein" like Jordan and Saudi Arabia? Is apartheid OK if practiced against Jews?

BERNARD LINDNER

Los Angeles

* Re "To Jews, All of Jerusalem Is Home," Commentary, Dec. 20:

Irving Moskowitz claims Jews have a right to live anywhere they wish in Israel/Palestine, including the centuries-old Arab quarter of East Jerusalem. What he does not admit is that Palestinians do not have the right to buy land anywhere in Israel/Palestine, nor even live in their homes that have been occupied by Jewish immigrants. The Israeli government forbids Palestinians to even add on to their existing homes or improve them.

Why does The Times give Moskowitz a platform to propagandize his motives to make Jerusalem a pure Jewish city when it could be doing more reporting on his activities in the bankrupt city of Hawaiian Gardens?

SAMIR TWAIR, President

Arab-American Press Guild

Los Angeles

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