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Mideast Situation Is Without Parallel

October 03, 2002

Re "E. Timor Points a Way for Mideast," Opinion, Sept. 29: Ian Urbina's article misses several major differences between East Timor and the Mideast debacle. The East Timorese were hapless victims of naked Indonesian aggression. Indonesia had nothing to fear from losing control over East Timor. The Mideast conflict is a war with two sides. The unconventional nature of suicide bombings negates the effectiveness of U.N. peacekeepers. If Israel's world-class security apparatus is unable to stop them, there is no way that the members of the peacekeeping force could stop them. Those peacekeepers would, in effect, become a shield from behind which suicide bombers could act unabated. That is why the United States has vetoed intervention proposals.

The United Nations has repeatedly demanded that Israel commit national suicide by abandoning self-defense. Right or wrong, most nations of the world operate under the assumption that Israel's existence is illegitimate. Some do not admit as much, but the voting record of the U.N. illustrates this stance. It is this opinion that must be changed if there is to be peace in the Middle East.

Contrary to the expressed views of the Palestinian Authority, withdrawing from the territories won't bring Israel security. Palestinians are operating on the war-of-attrition model. Hamas followers are not fighting for the West Bank and Gaza, they are fighting for everything between Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and the Mediterranean. Full withdrawal and abandonment of settlements won't stop anything.

Branden Frankel

Newport Beach

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Re "Rights Group Decries Both Sides in Intifada for Endangering Kids," Oct. 1: It has always been Palestinian policy to use children and women as human-shield cannon fodder. Terrorists hide in churches, schools and hospitals. The cowardice of putting the helpless in harm's way as a tool of warfare has brought about the high death rate for children.

These factors should be considered in stating your numbers.

Ruth Rosen

Santa Monica

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