Matti Peled should have been a bit more forthcoming in identifying himself as "a member of the Israeli parliament" in his letter to the editor {Aug. 12}. And as a newspaper that fancies itself as a perceptive observer of the contemporary Middle East, The Post properly would have demanded that he do so.

Yes, Mr. Peled is a member of the Knesset, Israel's parliament. But why not identify his party affiliation, as is done every time a U.S. senator or congressman writes a letter? Inclusion of such information affords the reader the opportunity to evaluate a politician's position within its proper political context.

Matti Peled is one of two Knesset members representing the so-called Progressive List for Peace, a political faction anchored on the far left of Israeli politics. The PLP openly identifies itself with Yasser Arafat and, in effect, functions as his mouthpiece. Little wonder, then, that Mr. Peled would oppose the closure of the PLO's office in Washington. What else would Mr. Arafat's boy be expected to say?

That Israel would allow such a party the right to run in its elections and be elected to the Knesset is, certainly, a testament to the vitality of Israeli democracy. But no matter how Mr. Peled may seek to package himself for consumption abroad, he and his party remain on the lunatic fringe of Israeli politics. By refraining to supply this information to its readers, The Post has forfeited to Mr. Peled a semblance of objectivity that he doesn't deserve -- and doesn't even pretend to claim for himself at home.



I thank The Post for publishing Knesset member Matti Peled's letter under the title "Why Not Talk With the PLO?"

It is discouragingly infrequent that Americans get to hear from or about the "true Israeli" -- the moderate, modern, nonvengeful or nonracist Israeli who hopes to make a permanent home in the state created by the United Nations in 1948. I believe most Israelis -- and most Jews, for that matter -- are more concerned about living in peace and prosperity than they are about whether or not the Palestinians survive.

Israeli newspapers, radio and TV seem to present a broader spectrum of opinion -- from the militaristic extremists on one side to the pacifists on the other -- while in the United States we hear only about the (admittedly politically powerful) extremists. Mr. Peled's letter represents a centrist position, understated and courteous.

Could it be that the military-industrial-political complex in the United States prefers that only the Israeli militarists be heard here?