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Arafat and Occupation Hold Peace Hostage

July 24, 2002

Amy Wilentz pens an eloquent portrait of Israeli life under terrorist assault (Opinion, July 21). But she errs in her belief that the terrorism would ease if Israel ceased to occupy the West Bank. The goal of the Palestinian Authority is to destroy the state of Israel and eliminate Jews from the Middle East. The Palestine Liberation Organization was founded with the avowed goal of destroying Israel when the West Bank was occupied by Jordan. The Palestinian Authority has changed its name, but not its goal or its tactics of terrorism.

Wilentz still believes that peace is within the reach of Israeli politicians if they would only relinquish the West Bank to Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat. It is not the West Bank that Arafat wants, but all of Israel. Arafat and his cutthroat crew hold peace hostage, and there is nothing the Israeli government can do to rescue it.

Deborah Koken

Costa Mesa


As a Jew, I find Wilentz pathetic. Her article is a whine of despair characteristic of left-wing Jews who expect life on a silver platter and are prepared to sell out Israel in search of an illusion. Almost without exception Israeli Jews of other political persuasions are strong of heart and mind and will overcome any difficulty Israel faces. Better The Times had waited for a proud Israeli, aware of his nation's history, to put rage to paper against the Palestinian terrorists as Americans are doing against our terrorist enemy, Al Qaeda.

Jerry Green

Los Angeles


Re "Israel's Economic Gloom," Opinion, July 21: Jo-Ann Mort has objectively described the pain and suffering of the Israelis while putting her finger on the root cause, the continued occupation. As long as the current government of Israel inflicts pain and suffering on the Palestinians and engenders hopelessness, Israelis will continue to suffer the fallout of that policy.

If Prime Minister Ariel Sharon cared about his people he would find his way to the peace table to negotiate an end to the occupation. Many of us in the Jewish American community see peace and an end to the occupation as both just and Israel's only hope.

Larry Saltzman

Santa Barbara


While it is very sad to read of the suffering of the Israeli people, in the interest of fairness please consider the suffering of the Palestinians under brutal occupation. They have curfews, children shot in the streets, schools and hospitals closed. All this suffering on both sides could be eliminated if Israel obeyed the U.N. resolutions and international law and withdrew from its illegal occupation.

Ronald H. Rowe



Here is a simpler road map than that suggested by "Mideast Road Map Needed" (editorial, July 19). When the maps Palestinians and other Arabs use actually show a state of Israel--when they have unequivocally renounced in words and deeds the intent to destroy Israel--peace will follow. Palestinians need not give up the dream of a state, but they and the Arab world must discard the dream of destroying Israel. That is what the continuing strife is about, and everything else merely adds to the obfuscation.

Marvin Wolfert

Foxboro, Mass.

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