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Mideast Civilians Are Targets, Human Shields

April 16, 2002

Re " 'They Forced Me to Hate,' " April 15: If anyone "made" the Palestinians hate the Israelis, it was their own leaders, by not doing right by them and feeding them the hate-filled propaganda for which the Arab press is infamous.

Your article barely touches on the fact that civilians are involved because they harbor the terrorists who are murdering civilians in Israel either voluntarily or by force. The Palestinian Authority and its various militant factions have no compunction about forcing civilians to operate as their human shields, as well as hide armaments in homes, schools, offices and other normally civilian environments. I suppose Israel should be expected to do what no other government, including our own, tolerates: doing nothing while its civilians are being randomly murdered.

Leslie M.B. Cole

Los Angeles

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After reading the stories of Israeli actions in Jenin and other areas of Palestine, I am realizing that the lessons of the Nazis were not lost on the Israeli government. Summary executions, destruction of your enemy's homes and livelihoods, rounding up all men aged 18 to 45 and blocking outside media and government access to your actions could be a page out of 1930s Germany. Too bad the Israelis learned the wrong lessons.

Dan Walsh

San Clemente

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Re "Put Some Bite Into a 'Land for Peace' Deal," Commentary, April 14: Russell Korobkin points out that Israel needs some guarantee of peace as part of any land-for-peace agreement. He also points out that the Palestinians cannot provide such a guarantee. He proposes that in place of a guarantee Israel be allowed to "reoccupy portions of the territories if the Palestinians fail to provide the peace they promise." That's exactly what happens now. It isn't working.

To make a land-for-peace deal stick, the entire Arab world must provide the guarantee. The most civilized way would be an Arab-funded insurance policy: For every Israeli killed by an Arab terrorist, the insurance fund will pay the victim's family, say, $25 million--with lesser amounts going to those injured but not killed. Public payments by Arabs to Israelis will quickly reduce the sense of pride now felt by the perpetrators of terrorism. If Saudi Arabia really wants peace, let it be the first to fund such a land-for-peace insurance plan.

Russ Abbott

Culver City

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While he made many good points, Korobkin's conclusion was, "To convince Israel to cede land the Palestinians must guarantee peace." The Israelis have no land to "cede." They are occupying land captured in war that doesn't belong to them. Once the Israelis realize their dreams of conquest and subjugation of the Palestinian people will not be realized, they will withdraw and we will have peace. I am ever hopeful this will occur soon.

Robert Matano

Redlands

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Does anyone truly believe that Israel will eventually agree to the formation of a viable Palestinian state? An independent "Palestine" would have the right, even the obligation, to create a standing army and purchase armaments on the world market. An independent Palestine could foreseeably match Israel tank for tank, attack helicopter for helicopter and equipped soldier for equipped soldier. Not in a million years.

Michael Fawcett

Los Osos

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On Friday morning, while watching the carnage of another suicide bombing in Jerusalem that killed at least six people and wounded 50, I read your editorial alleging that legislation I am considering, but have not yet introduced, is "reckless." This legislation would declare the Palestinian Liberation Organization a terrorist organization and sanction it accordingly.

Many of the recent attacks have been carried out by groups closely affiliated with the PLO, such as the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, recently designated by the State Department as a foreign terrorist organization, and the Tanzim. These are parts of Yasser Arafat's own military apparatus.

On April 10, eight people were killed in a suicide bombing in Haifa. During the Passover week, 46 Israelis were killed and more than 120 wounded. And in March alone, 125 Israelis were killed in the attacks, which culminated in the bombing of the Passover ceremony in Netanya. In sum, there have been at least 60 suicide bombings in Israel since the new intifada began in September 2000.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and I have deliberately held our legislation in abeyance to give Secretary of State Colin Powell time to revive the peace process. We hope he is successful. Is that reckless?

Sen. Dianne Feinstein

D-Calif.

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