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Democracy and the Mideast

June 22, 2007

Re "West chooses Fatah, but Palestinians don't," Opinion, June 20

If Saree Makdisi's one-state solution came into existence, it would be an untenable nightmare. Israel, a well-functioning democracy, would be replaced by something like today's Lebanon, only worse, because it would combine two nations with different cultures, values and languages that have grown to despise each other. The solution to this chaos would immediately become evident: partition, a two-state solution. This was the correct logic of the United Nations in 1947, which Jews accepted and which most Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims continue to reject.

Hamas and its defenders really want one thing: the removal of Jews from the area, and failing that, political domination over them. This would merely restore the problem of Jewish victimization and homelessness that Israel was created to solve. Jews do not want to be dominated by Palestinians any more than Palestinians want to be dominated by Jews. Let each have their own state.

GARY GOLDMAN

Los Angeles

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Makdisi correctly summarizes the situation between Hamas and the West. From this point on, only Hamas can win unless the unlikely -- real progress in relations between Israel and the Palestinians -- occurs. If Fatah and Israel do not come up with solutions, all Hamas has to say to the Palestinians is, "I told you so." The lack of any lasting solution from this point on will only work to Hamas' advantage, providing fertile ground for new recruits.

PAUL JOSEPH

Boxboro, Mass.

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President Bush is always talking about bringing democracy to countries in the Middle East, and yet he did not and does not recognize the elected government of the Palestinian people. Instead, he is choosing to recognize the self-proclaimed "moderate" government (which Americans would prefer). If he really champions democracy, he cannot choose to recognize a government that he likes over the one elected, no matter what its politics.

PAUL WALLER

Woodland Hills

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