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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Palestinian Choices Yield Harsh Results

March 14, 2003

Re "Doubts Mount About Israel's Targeting of Militants in Gaza," March 11: Israel's targeting of terrorists (you refer to them with the politically correct term "militants") has greatly decreased the number of successful suicide attacks. The terrorists are now on the run in Gaza. Yasser Arafat held them in check only when he needed to. The past 2 1/2 years have seen Arafat give them the green light for terrorist activities. This is why Israel has "marginalized" Arafat since last spring.

Hamas would wield much less power in Gaza and other Palestinian Authority-controlled areas if the Palestinian Authority wasn't a criminal organization whose members live in villas while the people dwell in slums. Foreign money aimed at Palestinian citizens has been diverted over the past decade into the hands and bank accounts of Arafat and his cronies.

Brian Elfand

Woodland Hills

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As "In Gaza, Orange Growers Are Bitter Casualties of War" (March 10) reinforces, the ultimate losers of the conflict between terrorists and citizens are the citizens -- Israelis and Palestinians. The Palestinians had many opportunities to create a state and instead chose to wage war. Their own poor choices in leadership have led them to this point, and they need to take responsibility for those choices instead of always blaming everything on the Israelis.

Ariella Ives

Los Angeles

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