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Letters to the editor

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The 1947 partition

Ziad Asali candidly acknowledges that "[t]he Palestinian people have paid, yet again, an incalculable price for the decisions of their leaders," ("The Palestinian plight," Op-Ed, Monday). However, his column suffers from an unwarranted notion of moral equivalence and a highly skewed version of history.

Mr. Asali refers to "the fact that Israel occupies Palestinian land." He should have stated that, before the Israeli occupation, this was not "Palestinian land." From 1948 to 1967, Egypt occupied Gaza and Jordan occupied the West Bank. Neither Arab nation created a Palestinian state on the Egyptian and Jordanian land.

Moreover, had it not been for one of the "incalculable prices" the Palestinians paid for the decisions of Arab leaders, Gaza and the West Bank would have actually become "Palestinian land." The 1947 U.N. Partition Resolution provided for the creation of an Arab state and a Jewish state. The Jews accepted partition; the Arabs did not. Instead, they sought to slay the state of Israel at its very birth.

Mr. Asali, speaking of the "plight" of the Palestinians, ignores the fact that, prior to the second intifada, Palestinians in Gaza and on the West Bank lived better than they had under Egyptian and Jordanian occupation.

The Palestinians initiated the suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism in scornful rejection of the generous peace initiative created by President Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak in 2000-01, under which they would have had a Palestinian state in all of Gaza and more than 90 percent of the West Bank, with a capital in East Jerusalem.

Checkpoints, other security measures and a "plight" didn't just happen. They occurred because Palestinian terror killed and threatened the lives of the Israelis, and, like every nation, Israel has the right and obligation to protect its people.

NATHAN DODELL

Rockville

Let's be real

In Wesley Pruden's column "No time to go wobbly, George," (Pruden on Politics, yesterday), he refers to an account in the Politico, a Washington political journal, that says the president should be approached regarding a pardon for I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. According to Mr. Pruden's column, the Politico says the "realists" in the White House should keep the approach "warm and fuzzy, about how hard prison for Scooter would be on his family."

It seems that the "realists" used this approach on illegal immigration and it spread to the Senate the people are poor and hardworking, so they are entitled to citizenship and all the rights and privileges which flow there from. Thus, the American taxpayer has a responsibility to pay billions for the educational, medical and social welfare benefits of those who would violate our sovereignty and territorial integrity, encouraged by the government of Mexico. The American people want to preserve our security while President Bush wants to be warm and fuzzy and erase our southern border. Mr. Libby may yet have a chance if the "realists" use the "warm and fuzzy" approach. Just ask the illegal-alien lobby.

JOSEPH R. FARRELL

Alexandria

Shift the burden

Bill O'Reilly is a formidable one to oppose, but here goes, ("Fixing immigration," Commentary, Monday).

After the usual nonsense about border security (700 miles of fence, 10,000 National Guard forces), he wants all illegal aliens to register with the federal government, receive a "tamper-proof" ID and be reviewed by federal authorities. To review the cases of 12 million people in three years would mean completing almost 77,000 cases per week after we hire and train the thousands of interviewers. But train them to do what? Ask each alien if they love America? If they intend to learn English?

I wonder why we do not put the burden on those employers who actually benefit from the presence of aliens, illegal or not. Employers can contact federal authorities to request permission to hire low-wage workers. The government can issue Z-visas directly to the employer based on his need and it is his responsibility to provide the government with all the pertinent information on his individual workers. Each year, the agreement can be re-examined. This plan puts the burden on those who gain by documenting the undocumented.

WILLIAM M. STELL

McLean

Add up the numbers

The bloody battle between Fatah and Hamas in Gaza has resulted in a terrorist ministate in the heartland of the Middle East ("The bloody grip of Hamas," Editorial, Saturday).

The cold-blooded murder of fellow Arabs is only a portent of what would happen if Hamas were able to take over Israel with the propaganda that for years has called for the killing of all Jews. While Fatah, and certainly its militant wing, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, has been responsible for the murder of as many Israeli civilians as Hamas, at least negotiations could be conducted with that party.

Unfortunately, while the objective of both Hamas and Fatah is the destruction of Israel, Hamas is dedicated to the use of terror while Fatah wants to accomplish its agenda in stages with the removal of 450,000 Israelis who are outside the pre-1967 armistice lines, then the return of the descendants of the 500,000 Palestinian Arabs displaced during the 1948 war, now purportedly numbering 4 million, to a truncated Israel and finally the demographic destruction of Israel.

NELSON MARANS

Silver Spring

The frayed road map

In the column "Divorce, Palestinian style," (Commentary, Saturday) Claude Salhani plays the blame game with utter disregard for history.

He deplores the civil war raging between Hamas and Fatah in Gaza and claims this "is a defeat of U.S. foreign policy in the region" and that "t represents a failure of Israel's policy vis-a-vis the Palestinian territories."

He caps these off with an absurd statement that "After nearly 40 years of occupation Israel finds itself facing a far more hostile environment in Gaza" ignoring that Israel totally disengaged from Gaza two years ago and the hostile environment is the failure of the Palestinian Authority to dismantle the terrorist organization Hamas.

His blame of U.S. foreign policy ignores the more than 40-year history of attempts to resolve the conflict. There was shuttle diplomacy before the successful Camp David Accords in the 1970s, the failed Oslo peace process consumed much of the 1990s and in the early 2000s, there were the failed Mitchell, Tenet and Zinni commissions.

In 2002, President Bush proposed the "road map" that would lead to two states, one Israeli and one Palestinian. It called for new and different Palestinian leadership and a state not compromised by terror; a practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty and a dismantlement of the terrorist infrastructure. The "road map" asked that the Arab states be counted on the side of peace and publicly denounce deadly bombings this never happened.

The only solution to the conflict is separation of the two peoples.

Resettlement is not a new phenomenon, as witnessed by the movement of millions of Muslims and Hindus as part of the partition of India and Pakistan in 1948. This solution is extremely difficult to accept and even more difficult to implement. But there is no other way.

Forebears of many of today's Palestinians came from surrounding Arab states. The enormous land mass of these states can certainly accommodate these people. Donor countries, especially oil-wealthy Saudi Arabia, and Western nations should be counted on to establish towns, industries and resources to facilitate resettlement. Let's get on with a discussion of this solution instead of prolonging the conflict by erroneously placing blame where it does not belong.

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