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To the Mideast: 'Deal Yourselves a New Hand'

April 24, 2002

Re "A Shadow Falls Over Hope," Commentary, April 22: Kudos to Glenn Yago for setting the record on Yasser Arafat straight. Yago and his team rightfully wanted to maximize the potential economic benefits of a real peace in the Middle East. Venture capital was available. Ideas abounded. But Arafat would not listen without a final status agreement. Instead, the people he leads still live in refugee camps (for more than 50 years!). Instead of creating job opportunities, Arafat finances suicide bombers who are eager to blow themselves up knowing that their families would qualify for Saddam Hussein's blood money.

Arafat missed the boat by launching this bloody intifada. He could have had a major influx of capital in order to better the lives of his people. But then again, a leader who finances suicide bombers doesn't really value life anyway.

Cheryl Zwiren

Flushing, N.Y.


Yago's assertion that economic viability alone could eliminate the Palestinian plight and revive peace in the region is overly simplistic. You have to realize that the Palestinians need their priceless freedom and dignity before $$$. After 35 years of consistent lies, persistent occupation and broken promises, the Palestinians have clearly stated that enough is enough.

What Yago sees as "Arafat's war" is nothing but warfare tactics carried out by bitter, hopeless and humiliated people to restore their long-stolen land and dignity. With or without Arafat, the only solution to put out the Palestinian uprising is to eliminate the cancerous occupation and to create a Palestinian sovereign state. Once that is accomplished, a financial solution will definitely make sense to the Palestinians and to us all.

Ismail El-Shareef

West Hollywood


To the people of the Mideast: It's time to dump both Ariel Sharon and Arafat and deal yourselves a new hand before they get you all killed. Let those two go off in a field somewhere and go at it mano a mano if that's what they want. It's time for a new deal--new leadership. Those two guys are intractable.

Meanwhile, our president's plan to give more money to the Palestinians to rebuild their infrastructure will only result in more cost-effective targets for the Israeli tanks, which are now wasting good ammo shelling worthless rubble. The U.S. should cut off all funds to both Israel and the Palestinians until they come to their senses.

Phil Reimert

Manhattan Beach


The April 21 commentary by Ralph Reed explaining the Christian right's total support of Israel represents the triumph of ideology over morality. Reed and other apologists consider the Middle East in black-and-white terms; i.e. the Israelis can do no wrong and the Palestinians can do no right. The humanitarian impulse he describes for the Jewish people apparently does not exist for the suffering Palestinians, even if some of them may be fellow Christians.

Reed and other toadies for Israel are part of the problem, as they are more radical in their political views than most of the Israeli electorate. Hence, they do nothing to promote peace or love of fellow man. Not very Christian!

Don Headland

Morro Bay

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