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Which way for Israel?

February 14, 2009

Re "Israel's right turn," editorial, Feb. 10

The Times seems to doubt that members of the right-wing Likud Party in Israel are likely to make peace. Perhaps The Times has forgotten that the first peace treaty that Israel made with an Arab state was accomplished by former Prime Minister Menachem Begin, the right-wing co-founder of Likud.

Perhaps Israel's opponents respect strength and firmness. I suspect that they would look at a conciliatory attitude as a sign of weakness.

Marshall Giller

Winnetka

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Israel made its "right turn" three decades ago, a move that has broadly defined the course of history ever since. An extremist Likud-led Cabinet made the fateful decision to strive for a "Greater Israel" -- sovereignty over all of the Holy Land. With the protection of its dominant military, it launched a drive to build settlements in the occupied territories, especially the West Bank. It set in motion an endless dynamic of heightened violence, suffering and hatred. And the huge settlements there represent the concrete denial of a two-state solution: a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

The radicals who have dominated Israeli policy may believe that although they have not won the entire Holy Land but only a valuable segment of the West Bank, they have at least gained a partial victory in blocking the formation of a viable Palestinian state.

But their triumph promises only unending strife and chaos.

Benjamin Solomon

Evanston, Ill.

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