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Hamas barking up wrong tree

July 13, 2007

Re "Hamas' stand," Opinion, July 10

The Palestinians' current problems stem from their attempt to annihilate Israel at its inception. Mousa Abu Marzook, deputy of the political bureau of Hamas, ignores the fact that after the Arabs attacked Israel at its inception in 1948, many Palestinians left on their own or at the urging of Arab leaders who promised their return when Israel was vanquished.

More significantly, Marzook ignores the fact that while Israel successfully assimilated Jews from Arab countries (who were kicked out of Arab lands when Israel was created), the Arab countries refused to assimilate the Palestinians, thereby creating the refugee problem that exists today. That led eventually to the rise of Hamas, a repressive, terrorist regime.

DAVID FIELDS

Los Angeles

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Marzook doesn't want to roll up his sleeves and build a Palestinian state from scratch. He wants to be handed his "house by the sea," his "lemon trees" and the "olive grove" his father tended. Only then will he be willing to "speak of a future together." Sadly for Marzook, the house by the sea is now a luxury hotel on the beach, part of the basis of a huge tourism industry; the lemon trees have become an industrial-sized agricultural cooperative whose food and flowers are exported all over the world; and his olive groves have morphed into computer chip manufacturing campuses funded by international investors.

Someone needs to tell Marzook that the world he so touchingly longs for, and aspires to for his people, is as dead as the Holocaust's 6 million Jewish victims. As long as the Palestinians look to people like Marzook for leadership rather than someone willing to rally people to do the hard work of building a modern state, they will never emerge from their benighted condition.

PHILIP PEARL

Chatsworth

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I want to commend The Times for giving Op-Ed space to Marzook to explain where Hamas stands. He lays out in an eminently reasonable way why it cannot be expected of Hamas to accept an abstract "right to exist" for Israel. As Marzook writes, it is a fact that Israel does exist; the demand for recognition is a ploy by Israel and Western powers to avoid any progress toward justice in Palestine.

CHRISTIAN HAESEMEYER

Champaign, Ill.

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Marzook, deputy of the political bureau of Hamas, an organization that has rained death on Israel for decades, ends his article with these words: "I look forward to the day when Israel can say to me, and millions of other Palestinians: 'Here, here is your family's house by the sea, here are your lemon trees, the olive grove your father tended: Come home and be whole again.' Then we can speak of a future together." That is like allowing a bunch of convicted child abusers to run a home for abused children.

No, Mr. Marzook, unlike Hamas practicing murder against Israel, Israel doesn't practice national suicide.

LEON M. SALTER

Los Angeles

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