It is painful for me as an American Jew to awaken every morning to the news of another Palestinian death. The horror of Israeli soldiers' using clubs on protesting Palestinian women, and bullets on stone-throwing youths is difficult to comprehend. And I am sure that there are also many Jewish Israelis who find the actions of their own government equally repugnant.

But there is an alarming lack of direction and outspokenness coming from American and world Jewish leadership. Meanwhile, the popular perception of Israel has worsened, and comparisons, which are not altogether unfair, of the policies of the government of Israel and the policies of the government of South Africa are being made.

All Jews must ask themselves how far our credibility as victims of past injustices and as champions of civil rights and human equality for all people will sustain us in the future if we continue to remain silent and helpless.

Israel must be prodded to act fairly and positively, or it will be backed into a very regrettable corner.

MICHAEL S. TABOR

Washington

In reading The Post's pro-Palestinian coverage of recent events in Israel, anyone familiar with the recent history of the region cannot help noticing the patience, long suffering and restraint shown by the Jewish state relative to the conduct of its Moslem neighbors.

In 1982, in the midst of the Iran-Iraq war, and without provocation, Iraq deported more than 100,000 Iraqi citizens to Iran, after confiscating their houses, lands, cars, cash and jewelry. Almost all of these people were women, children and old men, and some had relatives at the front fighting for Iraq. Not a word of criticism was heard in the liberal media in the United States. But when Israel prepares to deport nine people who have proved to be security risks, the U.S. media are outraged.

Similarly, Syria has annihilated thousands of innocent, unarmed and unoffending women and children in various cities and neighborhoods in which there was Moslem brotherhood activity. No complaints were heard from U.S. liberals. But let Israel shoot a handful of rioters who are in the act of combating government troops and the world is outraged.

JUDITH FOSTER

Fairfax

Leo Samet's statement {letters, Jan. 7} regarding Israel's "genuine" claims to the occupied territories is almost laughable except for the fact that some people do take it seriously.

If we are really to believe that God has promised today's Jews the ancient lands of Israel that existed more than 2,000 years ago, then anything now existing between the Nile and the Euphrates becomes fair game. So Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt -- make way!

My question is: Who is this God and whom did he tell? I didn't hear him say anything.

CYNTHIA S. ABI-HABIB

Rockville

I believe in the phrase "a picture speaks a thousand words." That is particularly relevant today, when a photograph can instantaneously freeze a moment in time. Such a picture tells the story, particularly one that appeals to the emotions, more eloquently than many an impassioned editorial.

Such is the case with the current situation in the West Bank. Again and again, the American public finds itself bombarded with images of bleeding Palestinian youths or distraught mothers. The rage of these people is imprinted on our consciousness as we see them in another picture picking up another stone to throw.

However, images of what is on the receiving end of that rock are not prevalent. Rocks, too, cause injuries, leaving behind bleeding Israelis, both soldiers and civilians. The riots have created a frightened citizenry of Jews, Christians and nonparticipating Arabs who are afraid to leave their homes for fear of what their rioting neighbors may do next.

The riots in the West Bank affect all of Israel. It is time for the American public to see pictures of the receiving end of those rocks, time for all of us to see the whole picture. Perhaps then censure will fall more heavily upon those who take an entire country hostage with a handful of rocks.

ELLEN ALTMAN

Alexandria