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Eliminating Arafat Wouldn't End the Violence

September 24, 2003

In their essays (Opinion, Sept. 21), David Grossman and Efraim Karsh both failed to give an important reason why Ariel Sharon may have to think twice before eliminating Yasser Arafat. It is inevitable that the Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation will continue after Arafat is gone, resulting in more Israelis and Palestinians being killed, violence for which, in the past, Sharon consistently blamed Arafat. With Arafat out of the picture, who would Sharon blame for the violence? Arafat has been a convenient target for Sharon's anger; his absence would present Sharon with a dilemma in the blame game.

Zac Sidawi

Costa Mesa

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What nobody seems to understand is that the war of independence of 1948 is still being waged. Israel has won all the battles but seems to be losing the war, both with world opinion and within its own amorphous borders as every aspect of Israeli society is deteriorating, from the economy to the Jewish character of the state.

As for Arafat, he is a leader who has managed to march in front of his people and not lead them. The war is being waged by the Palestinian people for their legitimate rights and is not the design of one man.

Richard Romanus

Skiathos, Greece

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Does the United Nations General Assembly not have anything better to do than to call a special session to pass a lopsided resolution supporting a renowned terrorist (Sept. 20)? Arafat is the biggest obstacle to the Palestinians achieving their own independent state. His Fatah organization has been sponsoring homicide/suicide terrorist bombings against Israeli citizens for years.

Why isn't the U.N. instead demanding that those in the Palestinian leadership dismantle their terrorist organizations? That is the key, requisite step for the establishment of the sovereign state that the Palestinian people so desire for themselves.

Beverly Jacobs

Irvine

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"The Arafat Distraction" (editorial, Sept. 18) applies the concept of moral equivalence in Orwellian fashion. Multiple homicide bombings of Israeli men, women and children are referred to as "provocations." Sharon and Arafat are blamed equally for the absence of peace.

No prominent Israeli official refers to Arafat as a "singular mastermind." Rather, any unbiased observer would conclude that, as Arafat will not sanction the rooting out of the terrorist infrastructure of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and his own Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Israel has no one with whom to negotiate peace (whether Mahmoud Abbas or any of his successors) until Arafat dies or is removed from power.

Mark E. Kalmansohn

Santa Monica

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The Times is critical of Israel's policy of targeted killings of Palestinian terrorists. I would ask any American to place himself or herself in Israel's position. Over the last three years, more than 800 Israeli civilians have been murdered and many thousands more have been severely wounded. In the U.S. that would be the equivalent of 50,000 murdered citizens and hundreds of thousands wounded. Confronted with evil of that magnitude, is there any sane person who would not demand a strong response? I can guarantee that the U.S. would show much less restraint than Israel under those circumstances, and no one would accuse the U.S. of being an "impediment to peace."

Marc Rohatiner

Los Angeles

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