When I glanced at the op-ed title "Second-Class Citizens in Their Own Homeland" {Dec. 21}, I immediately thought that the subject of the piece would be the Palestinian people, especially in light of the recent events in the Israel-occupied West Bank and Gaza. However, upon reading Jeane Kirkpatrick's piece, I found no mention of the Palestinians, although they suffer hardships as do the Ethiopians, Afghans, Cambodians and Tibetans, whose suffering she did address.

Mrs. Kirkpatrick listed hardships of "chronic hunger, exile, repression, separation from family." In the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, residents are often forced to eat cats, rats, dogs, etc., because food cannot be delivered to the camps, which are often under siege by various non-Palestinian forces.

Palestinians are exiled from their homeland by the Israeli government through deportation and never allowed to return. They are forced to leave family and loved ones behind.

Mrs. Kirkpatrick states that the human suffering she lists "is a direct result of political violence used by governments against unarmed people." This kind of violence is evident in the past week's events during which Israeli troops have fired on Palestinians demonstrating in the occupied territories, killing and wounding young men, children and women whose demonstrations is the predictable response, after 20 years of Israeli oppression, by people who feel they are without hope and have nothing to lose but their lives.

Mrs. Kirkpatrick states, "In each case a foreign government uses force to subdue an ethnically and culturally distinct people. In each case conquest and the denial of self-determination have served as preface to the denial of most of the rights protected by the International Declaration of Human Rights. In each case the effort to conquer a people has led to suppression, dispersion, relocation, massive disruption of the social structure. . . . "

To deny that the Palestinian people have not been victims of these actions is to imply that Palestinians are not deserving of human rights and dignity, which all people should be entitled to. JESSICA H. FINLEY Washington