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Mideast: Apply Pressure to Stop the Violence

April 12, 2002

In your April 9 editorial, you say that "Arab nations should pressure Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat to stop the Palestinian violence." Of course they should. But President Bush hasn't succeeded in doing so despite his many statements urging Arafat to stop the terrorists' attacks and to turn over those responsible for the assassination of an Israeli Cabinet member to Israeli authorities. What signs have you read to indicate that the Arab nations will pressure Arafat? Has there been any good-faith action on Arafat's part? Show it to me, please. Then I will write Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, posthaste, condemning him for not responding in good faith.

Bush had it right before his speech on April 4. He should not have sent Secretary of State Colin Powell to the Middle East on a fruitless mission. He should have stayed the course with Sharon and encouraged him to clean out the terrorists--just as we have attempted to do in Afghanistan. Afterward, negotiations can take place.

Don Joel

Santa Ana

*

Arafat should leave his bunker and, like Gandhi before him, he should march singly, followed no doubt by many, to Jerusalem. As Gandhi made salt from the sea, Arafat needs to make clear the legitimacy for debate of the right of return for Palestinians. Americans don't understand that he is holding out for the right of his people who lost their homes and land; that the term "refugees" has meaning.

He is willing to be a martyr, so the time is right for him to get in the gun sights of the Israeli tanks and let them either take their best shot or yield. Let Powell catch up with him in Jerusalem, the Palestinian capital.

Scott Olinger

Long Beach

*

Let us speak truth to power: The so-called generous offer of a "Palestinian state" that Arafat refused was either a cruel joke or a trap. Look at the map of the proposed territories: none were contiguous; a network of Israeli roads crisscrossed the Palestinian lands, making the inhabitants prisoners of a continuous virtual occupation.

Let us also remember how the present intifada started: Sharon "visited" the Palestinians' sacred site with armed soldiers. The Palestinians' first violence, stones thrown at the occupier, was met with bullets, resulting in deaths. Who has suffered most?

Therese Ballet Lynn

Laguna Beach

*

Robert Scheer may be an expert in many areas, and he is certainly entitled to his opinion about Sharon, Arafat or the dynamics of the Arab-Israeli conflict (Commentary, April 9).

What he clearly lacks is better insight into the deep and, yes, all-consuming anti-Semitism that dominates the hearts and minds of the majority of Muslims in the world. His assertion "What irony that many Jews now comfortably vacation in Germany but insist that Arab anti-Semitism is an immutable aspect of Muslim culture" would be poignant if it weren't so ill-informed.

Take it from a Jew--not an Israeli--who was born and raised in a Muslim nation. Anti-Semitism is indeed an immutable aspect of daily life in Muslim--not just Arab--culture. It has been so for a thousand years--long before the inception of the state of Israel or the invention of tanks and other tools of modern warfare.

Gina B. Nahai

Beverly Hills

*

I hope that I am part of a silent majority of Jews worldwide who are shocked and gravely disturbed by Israel's ongoing military actions. The shameful and humiliating treatment and killing of innocent Palestinians is just as disturbing as the ruthless murder of innocent Israelis by suicide bombers. Both Arafat and Sharon should be condemned for their egotistic, vicious policies fueling this madness. Immediate withdrawal and an end to suicide bombings can only begin the process that everyone wants: peace.

Sarah Newman

San Francisco

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