Misconceptions on the Middle East

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Friday, September 11, 2009

I agree with Roger Fendrich ["Hamas in Denial," letters, Sept. 6] that Hamas leaders' comments objecting to teaching about the Holocaust in U.N.-run schools in Gaza were not sweet. But when he asks: "Who among us would welcome -- or trust -- a neighbor holding such views of us?," he has things turned around. One need only look at former president Jimmy Carter's Sept. 6 op-ed ["The Elders' View of the Middle East"] on the next page to see what kind of "neighbor" Israel is.

When Israelis reject the fact that their state was built on land owned and inhabited for centuries by another group of people, and when the Israeli government continues to dispossess Palestinians of their homes, their farms and even their right to move freely, can they expect these same Palestinians to hold a positive view of their neighbors?

It is wrong and foolish of Hamas not to recognize the real sufferings of the Jewish people. But isn't it also wrong and foolish to support the Israeli government's continued dispossession and infliction of suffering on the Palestinian people?

KATHLEEN EL MAAROUFI

Chevy Chase

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To paraphrase Ronald Reagan on Jimmy Carter, "There you go again." The former president's Sept. 6 op-ed was yet another in his string of one-sided assessments of the Middle East.

Israel had troops in Gaza for legitimate security reasons. When Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, it was essential that there be a simultaneous improvement in the life of Gazans and in the security to protect Israel from such terrorist attacks that sent Israeli troops to the region in the first place. Mr. Carter overlooked this key fact.

Neither the Quartet nor the United States has been forthcoming in establishing these security arrangements, and Israel had no choice but to protect its people by keeping borders closed.


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