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Middle East: Negotiate for Peace

October 08, 2000

* In "Reckless Provocations" (editorial, Oct. 3) The Times suggests that the visit to the Temple Mount by Ariel Sharon was the sole cause for the horrific events of last week. While we do not dispute that Sharon's visit had the potential to incite political passions among the Palestinians, Chairman Yasser Arafat's failure to restrain the violence has contributed to recent tragic events. It is to the negotiating table that both sides must now return. Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Arafat have come so far and are so close. While security agreements have deteriorated, other agreements, such as those in the economic arena, have held strong. They are the result of many years of hard work and compromise.

As Jews around the world celebrate our New Year and look forward to the soul-searching of Yom Kippur, our most holy day, we call upon Arafat and Barak to rededicate themselves and their peoples to the pursuit of peace through negotiation.

OSIAS G. GOREN, Chairman

Jewish Community Relations

Committee, Jewish Federation

Los Angeles

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* Your editorial, the commentary by Rashid I. Khalidi and a letter (Oct. 3) all condemn the visit by the disreputable Sharon to the "third-holiest site" of Islam. This site--the Jewish Temple Mount, where conquering Arabs built Islamic shrines on the ruins of the Jewish Temple of antiquity--has indeed been holy to Muslims for about 1,300 years. One thing you neglected to mention, though: The Temple Mount has also been the single holiest site in Judaism for over 3,000 years, with the venerated Western Wall its mere enclosure wall. Should Israel forbid peaceful Jewish entry? Will you next ask Saudi Arabia to restrict Muslims from the Kaaba in Mecca? Or Italy to forbid Catholics from the Vatican in Rome?

MARK LEVINE

Los Angeles

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* I congratulate The Times for its editorial and Jean E. Rosenfeld's Oct. 4 commentary, "Profane Acts, Profound Consequences." Both lay the blame for the recent carnage in the holy land where it belongs. If the politicians of the world show the same candor that Rosenfeld's article represents, then the Jews and the Muslims can reconcile their Islamic sensitivities and Messianic expectation. Understanding and accepting the mistakes of the past will make Jews, Christians and Muslims live amicably, not as parochial beings but as the children and servants of the same God of Abraham. May God give us wisdom.

BASHEER AHMED KHAN

Garden Grove

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