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There Are Many Sides to the Mideast Story

July 09, 2002

Re "Zionist Dreams Sinking Into Despair," July 7: Liberal Israelis, "who came to Israel to build a state so that the word 'victim' wouldn't be part" of the vocabulary, are surprised that the vanquished in the state-building contest would resort to violence in the face of further settlements?

Liberal Israelis, who "want enough money to live well and have a good, interesting job," are surprised that Palestinians, who have limited access to jobs and education, are hostile to Israelis? Israel and its citizens have legitimate concerns. This type of article does not help them.

Kenneth C. Hardy

Pasadena

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Your article paints a true, sad story of despairing Israelis who longed for peace and now find their lives broken. But there is another side of the story. Jews all over the world will still come to Israel to settle, especially in times of extreme anti-Semitism--like now. Jews all over the world revere Israel and will never give it up.

Jews all over the world pray for peace in Israel every week on Shabbat and will never give up the hope for peace. Even the right-wing Israeli political parties, which are staunch in defending Israel, pray for peace in Israel and hope to live there without hatred and bloodshed. Jews have survived all these thousands of years, and now that we have returned to Jerusalem, we will defend it.

The Palestinian people will never accept this. The Arabs have been fighting and killing the Jewish people since World War II. With every suicide bomber, the Palestinian people lose their chance for statehood. We don't need another anti-democratic state in the Middle East.

Marsha Roseman

Van Nuys

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What these families don't seem willing to admit is that their dream has caused a nightmare for another. That their security has produced insecurity for another. That the prosperity their society has experienced has come, in a very real sense, as a result of the ongoing exploitation of the labor of another. While their supposedly liberal Zionist myth may seem like a utopia to them, their Palestinian neighbors have lived under the boot of occupation for decades.

Sadly, those decades of belligerent Israeli disregard for the conditions of their existence have driven a militant segment of the Palestinian population to take the sort of extreme action that has become an almost daily aspect of life there. No amount of liberal angst will obfuscate the moral failure of what was then, and still remains, a fundamentally anti-democratic Zionist dream.

Roger Bowers

Los Angeles

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I spent this last year studying at an Israeli university. Most Israelis do not feel despair. They feel betrayed by the very Palestinian Authority that they helped set up and are resigned to the fighting that must follow.

This is not despair but acceptance of bitter truths. Among the few despairing Israelis are the dwindling members of Peace Now, a group neither mainstream nor Zionist. Peace Now is willing to sacrifice almost everything to achieve a dubious, ephemeral peace. With the failure of such a doctrine staring them in the face, members cannot bear to accept the demise of Oslo and the bloodshed that must follow. To say that Israel is awash in despair is to slander the bravery and determination of a people long under siege.

Oren Litwin

Norwalk

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Perhaps your juxtaposing of a committed Hamas leader with innocent young Israeli victims in "Terror's Aftermath" (Opinion, July 7) was meant to help mute ever-louder protestations of a pro-Palestinian bias in your coverage of the Middle East atrocities. After all, it's quite easy to side with the innocent Israelis when the Palestinian steps forward to take credit for his murderous actions (however righteous he proclaims his means and ends to be).

What is clear is that your placing these two accounts side by side has the obvious effect of even further grossly distorting our view of the situation in the Middle East. In the present, tense atmosphere of charges of reporting bias by both Israelis and Palestinians, you should have found not a Hamas extremist but a Palestinian mother whose innocent daughter was a victim of Israeli fire. (Such Palestinian mothers are quite numerous.) Or perhaps even an "extremist" Orthodox Jew whose commitment to an Israeli state is at the expense of a Palestinian state.

Tom Wilde

Venice

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Hassan Salameh and the "Hammascide" bombers he has trained continue their jihad to overthrow the state of Israel. If a Native American plotted to expel U.S. civilians from "their land by whatever means," including murdering children, what should our nation's response be? Publishing an interview with the killer explaining his bomb-making techniques wouldn't be my first response. My prayers go out to the Palestinian and Israeli people and leaders to find a just peace. The way of Salameh and Hamas is surely not the path to peace nor an independent Palestinian state.

Alan Guttman

Los Angeles

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