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U.S. Response to Mideast Crisis

April 19, 2002

Poor, helpless U.S. Poor, helpless Colin Powell. Poor, helpless George W. Bush. More than a week ago, Bush tells Ariel Sharon to stop the invasion (but doesn't spell out why, at least to the public--about the mass suffering of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians). Now, more than a week later, Sharon says he'll get out of Nablus and Jenin in about a week (but forget Bethlehem and Ramallah).

I've been around and informed for the last 30 years that we've been financing Israel's tanks, F-16s, helicopter gunships, etc., with $3 billion a year and, frankly, I'm sick of hearing my "leaders" claim that we have no power to stop this human catastrophe. In fact, we are partners in it.

Someday, present-day members of Congress and executive branch leaders will be rated by objective historians (and unfortunately, and incorrectly, a lot of us who have been unable to change things) as absolute phonies or worse.

Lee Madden III

Glendora

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Re ''Powell's Peace Mission Yields No Cease-Fire,'' April 18:

Did anyone really believe that Secretary of State Powell would bring a cease-fire to the Middle East on his peace mission there?

For years this nation has been saying that you can't make deals with terrorists. The PLO, headed by Yasser Arafat--the same person who helped in the murder of the Jewish Olympic athletes in Munich in 1972--can't be someone to trust, a terrorist himself.

Tony Barone

Huntington Beach

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The factual knowledge and obvious compassion that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) demonstrates for the lives of Israelis is admirable (letter, April 16). Perhaps if she were to extend this same awareness and courtesy to the Palestinians there would be hope for peace.

Mohsen Ahmed

Santa Monica

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The question should not be what happened at the Jenin refugee camp but rather why is there a Jenin refugee camp at all? Jenin is in Area A of the Oslo accords, and therefore has been under the total control of Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority. Arafat has received hundreds of millions of dollars from the international community to better the lives of Palestinians. Where did the money go? Why wasn't it spent to build better homes and infrastructure and to better the lives of the Jenin camp's residents?

The fact is that not only is Arafat a terrorist but he's a thief as well, stealing money meant for his own people and funneling it to his corrupt Palestinian Authority. If Arafat truly had his people's best interests at heart rather than his own, he, and not Sharon, would have leveled Jenin's refugee camp long ago and put decent housing in its place.

Joseph Gold

Torrance

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Israel is not America's 51st state. It is a foreign country. The obfuscation of that fact was one of the aims of Monday's pro-Israel rally in Washington (April 16). Our interests and Israel's interests aren't one and the same.

No one knows about the difference between the U.S. and Israel better than those demonstrators. Ask anyone on the street which country has his primary loyalty and he'll likely say it's America. Ask someone at that rally and he'll probably tell you it's Israel.

Steven Imbagliazzo

Hermosa Beach

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People are basically the same all over the world, and for this reason it should be clear to all that the vast majority of Israeli and Palestinian people want an immediate end to the violence and a future with hope and security. Unfortunately, the leaders of these peoples continue to drag them into the dark spiral of violence.

It is abundantly clear that war is not the answer. Indeed, war itself is the problem and the true enemy of us all. Peace has to prevail. The alternative to peace is no alternative at all.

John Slevin

Los Alamitos

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