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To End Conflict, Create a Palestinian State

June 30, 2003

Re "Israel Hits Hamas; Militants Weigh Truce," June 26: Nearly every day the peace process in the Middle East appears to move a step forward, but by the next day the Israeli military has assassinated another Hamas militant, often killing civilians unfortunate enough to be nearby. This overly aggressive stance, the earlier destruction of the Palestinian security infrastructure and the ongoing occupation of Palestinian lands guarantee the conflict will not end.

I am not an apologist for the Palestinians, whose terrorist strikes damage any credibility they might have. However, it is clear this conflict must be resolved and a Palestinian state created immediately if there is to be peace in the region. The U.S. is the only nation capable of forcing the Israelis to do what needs to be done: stop their own terrorist assassinations, remove the settlements and end the occupation. We need to cut off all aid and support if the Israeli government continues on its destructive course.

Mark Johnson

Vista

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Re "U.S. Jews Should Offer Abbas a Helping Hand," Commentary, June 26: A new political force is slowly emerging in America to counteract the Christian and Jewish right, which to date have largely dictated U.S. Middle East policy. Mainstream Arab/Muslim groups and liberal Jewish groups are increasingly promoting a common vision on how to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. At annual meetings of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and the San Francisco-based Tikkun Community, leaders from each organization were invited to address each other's convention.

A growing confluence of views acknowledges the pain and affirms the humanity of both peoples, while seeking to implement a just, pragmatic resolution to the conflict. Fundamental to this nascent collaboration is the recognition that peace requires a strong U.S. commitment to the near-term establishment of a meaningful Palestinian state along 1967 lines, and not the endless delays, continued violence and dismantling of token outposts associated with the current ill-defined "road map."

Khaled Galal

San Francisco

Heather Merriam

Berkeley

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It was most discouraging to me to note the disapproving June 25 letters on Martin Peretz's June 23 commentary, "Traveling With Bad Companions." If only more people could see the wisdom in Peretz's words! His piece elevated The Times to a more enlightened source of serious journalism. Please keep printing this kind of commentary and perhaps someday more readers will learn to consider both sides fairly.

Paulette Mansfield

Canoga Park

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