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Mideast: 'Negotiate a Workable Peace'

April 23, 2002

I was saddened to read that Laila Al-Marayati compares the plight of the Palestinians to that of the Native Americans (Opinion, April 21). I, a Jew, would mourn the demise of the Palestinians. I have a suggestion or two to help prevent it. First, Palestinians must stop suicide and homicide against fellow Palestinians. Does anyone know how many people they have lost from suicide bombings and the massacre of Palestinians "suspected" of collaborating with Israel? Or how many Palestinians have been killed in wars they have started? To survive as a people, they must revere the life of every individual.

Also, Al-Marayati compares the Palestinians to Native Americans as "a proud people who will fight to the bitter end." Yet she states that "we live in a different time and place." She is right; the time for fighting to the "bitter end" is long past. Palestinians and Israelis must negotiate a workable peace with terms that will allow each to prosper. If Israel had not been repeatedly attacked, which wasted precious lives and resources in the Middle East, think of what a thriving area it might be. Think of the statesmen, the diplomats, the ambassadors, the scholars and the artists Palestinian society might have developed--and might yet--with willingness to come to terms of peace and stop killing their own and other people. Then they will indeed be a "proud people."

Sheila Golburgh Johnson

Santa Barbara

*

Al-Marayati conveniently forgot the million-plus Palestinians living in Israel. Can anyone doubt that if the roles of the Palestinians and Israelis were reversed, the Israelis would be the Native Americans? The kind whose bones bleached in the desert sun.

Art Friedman

Studio City

*

I am appalled that The Times ran '''We People of Faith Stand Firmly With Israel,''' by Ralph Reed (Commentary, April 21). Many innocent people died in the destruction of the World Trade Center because of religious extremism. We don't need to promote that kind of thinking in our newspapers. Reed should be reminded that we do have separation of church and state in this great country. If Reed chooses to base his life on mythology, that is his right. He should be careful, however, how he spreads his garbage. As a military veteran who served in three major wars in support of this nation's ideals, I resent his position that non-Christian and non-Judaic humans have no rights.

George L. Salem

Arroyo Grande

*

Reed's commentary reminds us in the Jewish community how grateful we should be to our Christian friends who stand on the side of truth and morality vis-a-vis Israel and, particularly, the Palestinians who seek to destroy us.

Understandably, Jews often have had trouble seeing Christians as friends, given the years of persecution at their hands. But our situation in the U.S. today is completely different. And as Reed pointed out, innumerable Christians put their own lives at risk to save Jews during World War II--precisely because their faith demanded it. We Jews who are fortunate enough to live in the U.S. today should publicly thank believing Christians for their support at this time.

Judy Gruen

Los Angeles

*

As a Christian, and one who has been involved in recent interfaith dialogue programs here in L.A., I take deep offense at Reed's ugly attempt to argue that all Christians stand with him in supporting the brutal policies of the current Israeli government. The Christianity of millions of people around the world, as exemplified by myriad demonstrations and position statements of the past weeks, is one that condemns all terror, whether authored by nonstate or state actors. Our Christianity demands that we work for peace and reconciliation. It is for that reason that we stand behind a two-state solution to the current conflict, one in which both Israelis and Palestinians live in viable states that offer them dignity, peace and security.

Laurie A. Brand

Los Angeles

*

What a contrast between the commentary by Reed, formerly of Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition, and the wonderful parody on the same page ("Legal Vengeance Is Mine, Saith the Lord Almighty," by David Martin). Reed praises Bush's Middle East policy (whatever it happens to be this week) and joyfully anticipates Armageddon. Martin, a Canadian attorney, incisively exposes the blatant hypocrisy of the world's religious and political leaders who invoke and slander the name of God while the human race continues to annihilate itself and desecrate the planet Earth.

June Maguire

Mission Viejo

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