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Many reasons peace is elusive

July 21, 2007

Re "Is peace out of reach?" Opinion, July 15

Aaron David Miller refuses to acknowledge what is now painfully obvious: There is no Mideast peace because the Palestinians will not give up their burning desire to destroy Israel.

The Palestinians have spurned every opportunity to have their own state, including the Peel Commission's recommendation in 1937, the United Nations Partition Plan in 1947 and the proposed settlement brokered by President Clinton at the Camp David summit in 2000. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas continues to abet the incitement of hatred that pervades Palestinian schools, mosques and media.

Israeli acts of appeasement, including the failed Oslo accords and the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, have backfired. Israel cannot afford to make further dangerous sacrifices on the altar of an illusory peace process.

STEVEN GOLDBERG

Encino

The writer is national vice president of the Zionist Organization of America.

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Miller's bleak assessment of the prospects for peace doesn't bode well for our efforts to stabilize the Middle East. But Miller ignores our own culpability in this colossal failure to find peace. Decades of coddling Israel and condoning its illegal network of settlements have deluded Israel's leaders and public into believing that the status quo of expansion and occupation is acceptable.

A strong push by the U.S. toward a just solution to the conflict (one that addresses the internationally sanctioned rights of Palestinians to liberty, a viable state and resettlement or restitution for refugees) would drastically change the dynamics of the peace process and bolster our standing throughout the region.

KEN GALAL

San Francisco

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Miller is correct that prospects for peace looked better during the 2000 Camp David talks than they do today and asks, "What makes us think we can get there today?" The answer is the Israeli and Palestinian people, who have lived through the second intifada and seven years of chaos. Polls show clear majorities on both sides ready to compromise.

Miller is correct that active participation of the United States is essential to make progress in finally resolving the conflict. But Miller neglects to mention the major obstacles to an active United States in peacemaking -- namely the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Christian Zionists and neoconservatives who seem to believe in a Greater Israel and refuse to recognize Palestinian rights.

JEFF WARNER

La Habra Heights

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