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Moderates Must Prevail in a Middle East Peace

May 17, 2003

Even though Palestinians are meeting demands for new leadership, a revised constitution and reorganized security forces, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon rejects the latest road map for peace ("Arabs Feel Let Down by Powell," May 13). His government continues to expand illegal settlements, deny media access to occupied territories and conduct extrajudicial executions.

The Bush administration and Congress indirectly support these actions by sending billions of dollars to Israel while making no demands for policy change. If the special-interest groups behind these destructive U.S. policies, made up mostly of the Jewish and Christian right, are allowed to block this momentous opportunity for peace in the Middle East, we will all pay a far-reaching price. Now is the time for moderates to speak up.

Mae Tinklenberg

Palo Alto

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"Bush Should Press Sharon" (editorial, May 14) mentions that Sharon has freed 180 detainees, is letting in 25,000 workers and was scheduled to meet with Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas on Friday.

What steps have the Palestinians made toward the peace process? What concrete steps have the Palestinians made to stop the terror? It seems that until that is done, all the lip service is just that -- lip service. Remember that a peace process works two ways. Sharon has made a start. It seems it is up to the Palestinians to do likewise.

Shirley Glasgow

Bill Glasgow

Blue Jay, Calif.

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President Bush indeed has a formidable task ahead of him if he wishes to implement a just peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The following groups appear to be ready to do all they can to sabotage the peace effort: Hezbollah, Hamas, Sharon and his Likud Party, American Christian fundamentalists, the pro-Israel lobby in the U.S., and American Congress members who unconditionally support Israel at all times, no matter what. Is the president's moral and political authority strong enough to overcome such long odds? Only time will tell.

Don Headland Jr.

Morro Bay

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