Jackson Diehl [op-ed, Sept. 27] made a good point when he discussed how Israeli military actions against Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank have dramatically reduced terrorism in Israel. However, at the end of his column, Mr. Diehl wrote: "It was 18 years before Israel finally exited from Lebanon and stopped the slow but excruciating accretion of its casualties."

That is untrue. Hezbollah attacks from Lebanon that previously targeted armed Israeli soldiers now indiscriminately target soldiers and civilians in Israel proper. The casualties have continued, and Hezbollah's victory has only inspired other terrorist organizations.

ARI SCOTT

Washington

There may have been fewer attacks against Israel in the past few months, partly as a result of stepped-up Israeli military action, but the level of despair and of hatred toward the Jewish state in the Palestinian territories has probably never been greater. To expect that this despair and animosity will not break out -- sometime, somewhere -- into horrible acts of violence is to indulge in the worst kind of wishful thinking.

Israel may have temporarily pacified the Palestinians, but the situation in the territories is not even close to stable.

It is irresponsible, then, to propose this as a model for the United States to follow in Iraq.

WESLEY H. CLARK

New York