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Palestinians Could Form an Arab Democracy

July 07, 2002

Re "These 'Teachers' of Democracy Haven't a Clue," Commentary, July 1:

Frida Ghitis writes it is a "grand irony" that President Bush conditions a Palestinian state on the creation of a free and tolerant democracy, because no such Arab state currently exists and Palestinians already have more religious and political freedom than our friends the Saudis and Egyptians.

But it is precisely their relative political sophistication that makes the Palestinians the best people to start with. Moreover, insistence on a genuine Arab democracy, committed to peace, could lead to fundamental change in the Middle East.

On the other hand, American acquiescence in the creation of still another Arab tyranny, born out of terror, would benefit no one.

Rick Richman

Los Angeles


In your June 30 Opinion review of world media reactions to President Bush's Middle East speech ("World to Bush: Get Real!"), you quote Ali Abunimah of Ramallah Online as referring to the Palestinians as being "dispossessed of their country and freedom for 54 years."

Comments like this show that there are Palestinians who feel that for them, the problem is not "occupation" in the West Bank but rather the very existence of Israel.

People are in denial if they do not see that many Palestinians want to go back 54 years and wipe the state of Israel off the map, just as Palestinian textbooks and maps already do.

Judy Dubin Aranoff

Van Nuys


Terror is impossible to quantify, but history will show that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is by far the chief terrorist in the Middle East. Palestinian suicide bombings are grotesque, flailing responses to the terror deliberately and systematically provoked by Sharon because he abhors peaceful solutions.

Robert J. Brophy

Los Alamitos

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