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A narrow view of the Mideast

August 28, 2007

Re "Misinterpreting the Mideast," Opinion, Aug. 26

Moshe Ya'alon's article carries some dangerous claims that people would be wise to investigate. The real issue is 40 years of illegal military occupation of Palestine that has been denounced consistently by the international community at virtually every opportunity, is in violation of several United Nations resolutions and is illegal under the Geneva Convention.

Palestine does not control its borders, taxes or economy. What makes the issue more egregious are the settlers who have stolen land, the massive apartheid wall that promises to turn what's left of the West Bank into a massive prison yard, the constant demolition of homes and agriculture, and the proliferation of checkpoints and settler-only roads that disrupt life and access to such basic services as medical care and schooling. To suggest that the issue is between ideological Islam and the West is part of a dangerous ideology that will only alienate our allies and turn the entire Muslim world against us.

Wiley Cunningham

Los Angeles

The only thing enlightening about Ya'alon's piece was learning that Ya'alon is no longer in government. Ya'alon may deceive himself and rationalize that an occupation can go forever, but we should not. Yes, there are other conflicts in the Middle East. And yes, the Palestinians have not been able to establish effective self-governing structures. But the continued Israeli occupation unites Arab and Islamic adversaries, encourages terrorism and inhibits the development of effective Palestinian self-government and leadership. The U.S., Israel and its Arab neighbors (including Hamas) need to complete a negotiated settlement based on the plan submitted by the Clinton administration at Taba, Egypt, in 2001. The occupation has been the result of war and self-defense, but it has come with costs that Israel in particular, and the West in general, should not continue to absorb.

David Perel

Los Angeles

Ya'alon asked a good question: "Why is the Palestinian economy in shambles?" The answer was given by the World Bank when it concluded that Israel's 546 physical barriers and administrative restrictions on the movement of Palestinians have devastated the economy. The World Bank also reported that these restrictions are not only for the security of Israel but are to facilitate the expansion of Israeli settlements, the very existence of which is illegal under international law. These settlements are also against our country's national interest because they create an insurmountable barrier to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Michael Several

Los Angeles

As part of his solution for the Israeli-Palestinian problem, Ya'alon suggests that the rest of the world set up an international fund and pay a resettlement fee of $100,000 to $200,000 to each Palestinian family displaced from Israel and living in a refugee camp. Why would he believe that Palestinians would accept any amount of money to give up returning to the land that they and their ancestors lived on for many centuries? Does he think, for example, that Israeli settlers would ever consider accepting a resettlement fee of $100,000 to $200,000 to return behind the Green Line? Perhaps Ya'alon may want to consider that he also is misinterpreting the Mideast.

William T. Parker

San Diego

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