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Thursday, November 20, 2003

Kol hakavod to Dale Sievers!

Letter in today's Daily Camera
BOOKMAN: Some omissions in Israel screed

Did I miss something, or did Jay Bookman (Commentary, Nov. 12) forget the second half of his article regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Mr. Bookman stated since 1978, "official U.S. and Israeli policy has been based on the expectation that land could be exchanged for peace. Palestinians would recognize Israel's right to exist and live in peace; in return, Israel would abandon settlements in the occupied territories and allow creation of a Palestinian state."

He then proceeds to state that Israel has not lived up to its part of the bargain. He forgot to mention that in 2000, Israel offered the Palestinians 95 percent of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (the so-called occupied territories) and a formation of a Palestinian state with part of Jerusalem as its capital. What did Israel get in return? The Palestinians responded with suicide bombings and escalating violence. He also forgot to mention that if they had truly wanted to live in peace, the Palestinians would have continued to negotiate with Israel. Instead, what did the Palestinians do? They started the murderous intifada.

Finally, he forgot to mention that when speaking to the West, Arafat states he wants peace, but in Arabic to the Palestinians and other Arabs, he consistently states that his aim is the destruction of the state of Israel. When the Palestinians are ready to truly live in peace with Israel and give up their goal to Israel's destruction, I am sure they will get their land-for-peace deal and their state. In the meantime, Israel must protect herself. I suggest next time Mr. Bookman writes a column discussing this issue, he examines both sides.

DALE SIEVERS, Louisville