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Bush's Leadership on Mideast Conflict

January 16, 2002

Re "The Context of Terror Can't Be Ignored," Opinion, Jan. 13:

Ignored in Milton Viorst's analysis is the fact that for the 19 years prior to 1967 the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip were in the control of Jordan and Egypt, respectively. During this time, there was no movement by the Palestinians or anyone else to create a state of their own. In fact, Jordan annexed the West Bank as its own territory.

If the West Bank and the Gaza Strip were the problem, what was the problem between 1948 and 1967? Why was it the united stand by all of the Arab countries that they would never recognize Israel, never negotiate with Israel and never have peace with Israel? This stand was repeated in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973. The failure of the Palestinians to grapple with these issues--perpetuating the fiction of victimhood--not Bush's policies, helps to perpetuate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Bruce G. Goren

Los Angeles

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Viorst deserves to be highly commended for putting the facts in their correct perspective. For the U.S. mediation to succeed it has to be evenhanded and not completely biased to one side. The people of Palestine are simple, honest people who are being robbed of their land every day. They have been deprived of every aspect of humanity and have been pushed to the brink. They have a right to live in peace and freedom like everyone else.

Albert Peltekian

Glendale

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Viorst's attempt to blame Israel for the actions of Islamic terrorists is as pathetic as it is convoluted. Viorst seeks to soft-pedal the horror of terrorism by cloaking it in euphemisms. To him, butchering innocent children is just Yasser Arafat's way of "shaking up Israel." And I guess Sept. 11 was just Bin Laden's way of shaking up the U.S. It's the president's strength, not his weakness, to know who the bad guys are. It's our good fortune that he acts accordingly.

Geoffrey Neigher

Los Angeles

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Viorst said it all, and very clearly, about the war between the Israelis and the Palestinians and Bush's indifference to this situation. Bush, seeing everything in black and white, makes me want to paper the Oval Office with this article. But I wouldn't bet on it being read. I feel the danger of being a helpless bystander while our country continues to side with one of the antagonists in this never-ending conflict that has already cost us so much.

Erin Scarlett

Cathedral City

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