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A Harvest of Hate in the West Bank

November 12, 2002

Re "No Olive Branches in the Grove," Nov. 7: As a Southern Californian peace activist accompanying Palestinian families during their olive harvest, I have witnessed the fear that farmers experience while attempting to reach their land and the Israeli army's and police's failure to intervene on behalf of Palestinians confronted by settler violence. Police spokesman Gil Kleinman claims that no distinctions are made between Palestinian and Israeli lawbreakers and that Israeli settlers are arrested if they break the law. However, we must remember that settlements are in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and thus all settlers in the West Bank are essentially breaking the law.

The violent acts of Israeli settlers upon Palestinians peacefully attempting to harvest their land are yet another layer of criminal activity largely ignored by both Israelis and the international community.

Radhika Sainath

Newport Beach

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I have personally seen incidents similar to those described, disagree with these tactics and, as an Israeli soldier, have fought against their use. But to say that "these ugly encounters represent some of the most in-your-face violence between Jew and Arab" is absurd when Arabs regularly blow up bars, cafes, discos, buses and malls filled with innocent civilians. That is "in your face."

Nate White

Los Angeles

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Question for the West Bank settler who says, "God gave this land to the Jewish people": What did God give the Palestinians?

Judy Farris

Rancho Mirage

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