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Israeli Military's Abuse of Palestinians

January 08, 2002

According to "Pressure Is on Sharon to Negotiate" (news analysis, Jan. 3), Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's goal is to be rid of Yasser Arafat. It would be better for both Israel and Palestine to be rid of Sharon. He is the most militant, arrogant head of a country ever. I wonder, if people really knew how the Palestinians are treated by the Israeli Defense Forces, if they would still defend Israel. The IDF treats the Palestinians with contempt. My husband and I have seen it over and over.

Just as we condemn the suicide bombers, we also condemn the Israelis' entrance into villages, where brutal killings of innocent children and adults occur--under the direction of Sharon. Eighty percent of those killed since the intifada began are Palestinians. Over and over Israel has confiscated land from Palestinian owners to build settlements for Jews, many from the U.S. We saw a beautiful tree-covered hill above Bethlehem, and the next time we saw it, the trees were stripped and cleared for a large settlement. We visited bombed-out homes of peace-loving people where the shells were made in the U.S. We Americans would never tolerate the arrogance that Palestinians experience from the Israelis. Let us listen to their cries.

Gwen Johnson

Corona del Mar

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Your Jan. 3 editorial, "Crack of Light in the Mideast" and front-page news analysis, read as if Sharon is the obstacle to peace negotiations and Arafat is doing everything possible for peace. Humbug! Sharon wants and needs peace, as do most rational people. But a peace that is real. Not just the arrest of several lower-level operatives but the confiscation of illegal weapons and the outlawing of terrorist groups; the cessation of Arafat's promotion of a culture of hatred and violence against not only Israelis (where is Israel on Arab maps?) but all Jews--in his textbooks, media, speeches and children's camps; of his refusal to arrest terrorists and to outlaw terror groups; and of his refusal to accept the right of Jews to live in all of the Palestine mandate (as Arabs have the right to live in Israel).

Emil Schafer

Riverside

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