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Israel and nuclear option against Iran

January 14, 2007

Re " 'Never again' -- Israel means it," Opinion, Jan. 10

Zev Chafets' Op-Ed was scary, maybe even scarier than President Bush and his lack of reality, or possibly scarier than the guys we are supposed to be scared of. When ideas like Chafets' are grown in America and could provoke World War III, one can get a good case of angst. Our knee-jerk response to conflict is to make war. We will be doomed if we continue on this mindless path.

Instead of bringing freedom to the world, how about bringing conflict resolution and practicing it ourselves? Often our military, trained to fight, understands best how to win. More and more, it is telling us that many conflicts don't need military solutions but political ones.

JUDITH MARKOFF

Los Angeles

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Chafets writes that Israel should bomb Iran's nuclear facilities because U.S. diplomacy has failed to halt the Iranian nuclear program. But U.S. diplomacy is null in most of the Mideast largely because of our support for the Israeli occupation, in which millions of Palestinians have been in a virtual jail for 40 years. Maybe it is time for Israel to accept the 1967 borders, build a wall there and end its silly skirmish once and for all. The problem is that Israel wants more land than it has rights to and is willing to lead the U.S. into global conflicts to gain it. Israel should get its hands out of the cookie jar rather than plotting to kill the kid who notices the theft.

BOB DALY

San Bernardino

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Chafets goes too far when he claims that retired Gen. Wesley Clark "clearly meant American Jews" when he reportedly said "New York money people." Clark said "New York money people" because that's exactly what he meant. The richest New Yorkers are not Jewish (look it up in Forbes), and the people who provide the greatest financial support to Israel's hawkish politicians, the subject of Clark's remarks, are almost exclusively neoconservative, Republican Christians.

Clark himself, the son of a Jewish father, has no history of anti-Semitic statements and has always stood up for Israel's right to defend itself. I suspect that Chafets is not really confused but is instead willing to invoke the charge of anti-Semitism on no evidence at all to discredit Clark, who is perhaps the Democratic Party's most effective voice for a responsible redeployment out of Iraq.

JAI JOHNSON-PICKETT

Stilwell, Kan.

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Chafets writes: "If the Palestinians cheered the mass murder of Israelis, as they almost certainly would, the Israeli reaction might be to settle the territorial issue of western Palestine once and for all." Why would they have to do that when a nuclear attack on Tel Aviv would render the whole area a radioactive wasteland? The West Bank and Gaza are only an hour's drive from Tel Aviv. Palestinians, unlike their Israeli counterparts, don't have as much access to bomb shelters. They would be incinerated in an attack on Israel.

The only logical, humane alternative to this scenario is the nuclear disarmament of all nations. Consistently prohibiting the development of a nuclear arsenal by any country might be easier to enforce internationally if everyone were on a level playing field.

LAILA AL-MARAYATI

Los Angeles

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