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Israel and Palestine: First Things First

April 22, 2002

Re Graham Fuller's "Start With Palestinian Statehood," Commentary, April 18: Fuller gave his endorsement of a European proposal that "reverses the sequence of the whole game," calling for the establishment of a Palestinian state as the starting point of a negotiating process instead of its culmination. It is a radical new idea, but it actually fails to reverse the sequence of the "whole" game.

The correct initial step would be the recognition by all Arab nations of the Israeli state and the establishment of diplomatic relations with it. This should also include, of course, groups like Hamas, Islamic Jihad and others that have publicly declared their mission of destroying Israel itself. Historically, this has been the Arab mission from before 1967, when the Arabs ruled the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

At the recent Beirut summit the Arab nations declared to the world that they are at last ready to accept the Israeli state as a neighbor. Therefore there is really nothing to lose if they take this first step in Fuller's sequence reversal of the whole peace process. Think about it.

Gary M. Epstein



There's a genuine idea that no body thought of before, at least not in the U.S. media: Start with Palestinian statehood. I am surprised that it took so long to come up with this idea. Here's another idea: Occupation is a form of terrorism. America's war is on terrorism. America should fight Israel.

Mohiddine Salam



Fuller's commentary gives credence to terrorism, mayhem and murder. Give the murderers everything they want and then they will come to the table. What nonsense!

If he is an example of CIA management, God help us.

Len Lawrence



I fully agree with Fuller. As a Jewish person and longtime Zionist, I feel that there will be no peace until Israel ends the occupation. We "peaceniks" don't get much press or air time, but we are just as determined as those of the hawkish viewpoint who have so much clout in Washington. We are hopeful that one day justice will prevail for both the Israelis and Palestinians.

Helen Myerson



The main focus of the United States in the Middle East at present seems to revolve around the security problem. Security for whom? Why is it so hard to understand that there is no security, no peace without justice?

Olga Hayek

North Hollywood


I sincerely hope that The Times will not allow the protest by Jewish groups to alter the coverage of the Mideast crisis (April 18). I have been particularly impressed with the balance of reporting.

I read the paper each morning, writhing for both the Israelis and the Palestinians. I have read about what it is to be an Israeli, attempting to live day to day as we all do, and having to worry that death and mayhem may erupt at any moment. I have also felt what it is to be a Palestinian, also trying to live, being confined to a home, watching neighbors die and towns being demolished. It is only when both sides can be seen as human beings that this demonic carnage will stop. Bias on either side would do a disservice to both and to humanity in general, which is at a crossroads where one of the paths leads to the apocalypse.

Victoria Thompson

Sherman Oaks

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