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Bush Calls for a New Palestinian Leader

June 26, 2002

Re "A Palestinian State Requires New Leadership, Bush Says," June 25: From someone who wanted nothing to do with the Middle East, which is why it has spiraled out of control, President Bush surely has become bold now. His idea that getting rid of Yasser Arafat would solve the whole problem is absurd. Arafat, although disgusting, was at least democratically elected, and the U.S. has no right to decide who will lead other countries. This very kind of bold talk plays a big part in terrorism within the United States, as we are seen as dictators and they resent our interference and our long-term support of Israel.

Regarding Arafat, who is to say that a new leader would not be even worse? Maybe some other country can order us to choose a new leader. Now, that would clearly be an improvement.

Jeanne Stacks

Mission Viejo

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Monday's address from President Bush, as well as your front-page coverage of that event, put great emphasis on Arafat's role in Palestinian violence. No doubt Arafat and his henchmen are terrorists who must be removed in order for there ever to be peace in the Middle East. Yet by focusing almost exclusively on Arafat and the Palestinian political leadership, we may be missing the point.

As long as the Palestinian Authority's religious leaders preach vengeance, its educational leaders teach hate and its media leaders incite, any Palestinian state will be a terrorist one--with or without Arafat. If we don't learn that lesson soon, it will be another busload of Israeli high school students in Jerusalem suffering the consequences.

Eliezer Schnall

West Hempstead, N.Y.

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I'd like to congratulate Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney on the president's principled and visionary statement on the Middle East. It is refreshing to know that there are still real statesmen among the politicians. I rate this speech right up there with President Reagan's "tear down this wall" speech in Berlin, which led to the liberation of Eastern Europe and the disintegration of the Soviet Union.

I believe that Monday will be remembered in history as the day marking the beginning of the end of the theological and dictatorial regimes in the Middle East and the dawn of a new age of democracy in the region.

Alexander J. Lubarov

Mountain View, Calif.

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Israel must now boldly step up to the plate and take the initiative. It must arrest Arafat, supervise democratic elections in which terrorists cannot be candidates and monitor the schools to prevent the teaching of terrorism.

This would expedite the process wherein the Palestinian people would not have to risk life and limb to rise up against the armed and corrupt government. America did the same in Germany and Japan. It would surely bring an outcry from other countries, but these governments are not Israel's supporters in any event.

Bernard Lehrer

Ventura

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