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Mideast Peace 'Road Map'

May 03, 2003

Re "Wrong Turn in Mideast 'Road Map,' " Commentary, April 28: Yossi Klein Halevi summarizes the key concerns I have about the "road map." We have to avoid making the same mistakes of the Oslo process. The Palestinians must renounce and dismantle terrorism at the beginning of the process, not at some point in the future.

Palestinians must agree explicitly to forsake destroying Israel and agree to live beside Israel in peace -- this means ending the fantasy of returning refugees to Israel. Palestinian society must end the incitement in the media, mosques and schools against Israel and against Jews. Only then will tangible steps toward a Palestinian state make sense.

We can't reward a 2 1/2-year terror war supervised and/or encouraged by the Palestinian Authority by promising a state within two years. The new PA leadership must demonstrate concrete change by destroying terrorist infrastructure and preparing its society for peace, not for destroying Israel. Then the road map can avoid becoming a roadblock to peace.

David Schechter

Los Angeles

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It is hard to take Halevi seriously when he denies any moral symmetry between the conduct of the Palestinians and the Israelis. The conflict has always been about land, and his failure to say anything in this commentary regarding the illegality of the settlements is astounding. His arguments are so entirely one-sided that one has to wonder why The Times did not choose to showcase two opinions on this important initiative.

No greater foreign policy issue faces the U.S. and President Bush. One could also argue that this president has a better chance at reaching a solution now than any previous president. He is already under attack by the neoconservatives for this policy. We will have to wait and see if Bush has the stomach to make peace and take on his own increasingly rabid right wing, with the same dedication he showed in making war.

Richard D. Cusick

South Pasadena

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Once again The Times provides a forum for Halevi's racist claptrap. Once again he wails the old Zionist tune that puts all the blame on Palestinian resisters to the illegal occupation of their land. Halevi speaks of Israeli withdrawal and a freeze on illegal settlements once Israel sees an end to Palestinian resistance. Yossi, wake up! Freezing won't do it.

Israel needs to remove all the settlers from Palestinian land. Settlers initiate violence against peaceful Palestinian civilians, and Israel Defense Forces soldiers are there to make sure Palestinians don't retaliate. So long as there are settlers there will be Israeli soldiers, illegal roads, curfews and Israeli paranoia. It's really very simple. End the illegal occupation. Disband all the settlements. Stop U.S.-financed Israeli terrorism. Voila! You'll get peace, if that's what you really want.

Mary Hughes-Thompson

Beverly Hills

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Halevi is in no position to speak on the moderation of the Israeli government when he himself holds extremist views. He attacks only the Palestinians and refuses to acknowledge the flaws and mistakes made by the Israeli government. Numerous attempts for a peaceful resolution in the Middle East have failed thanks in part to writers like him who preempt proposals and doom any attempts for peace and compromise.

The only way to peace is an end to the occupation, an end to house demolitions by the Israeli machine, an end to the targeted killings of innocent civilians and an end to settlements.

Halevi's writings not only hurt and destroy peace prospects for Palestinians but also for the vast moderate Israeli population, of which he definitely is not a part.

Dalia Arafeh

Rancho Palos Verdes

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One sentence in "Oregon Businessman Charged in 'Portland Six' Terrorist Case" (April 29) offers a perfect illustration of those Middle East problems that could defy any "road map" to lead anywhere but back into a maze. A defendant in the trial of the Portland Six is identified as a "Palestinian who was born in Nablus, Jordan."

Two contradictions in five words: If he comes from Jordan, one would expect him to be Jordanian; and a look at the map shows that Nablus in not in Jordan. Not now. But 38 years ago, when this man was born, Jordan ruled the West Bank. Two years later Jordan lost control of Nablus to Israel in the Six-Day War. And the baby boy who lived there suddenly became "Palestinian." Yet now, 36 years later, his American wife still speaks of Nablus, Jordan. So apparently, her husband still thinks of it that way. Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell and company could well find Iraq easy compared with this maze.

Baruch Cohon

Los Angeles

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