In his July 20 op-ed, "In Gaza, a Test Case for Peace," Israeli Ambassador Daniel Ayalon wrote, "Israel has shown it is prepared to take difficult steps to achieve . . . peace," and he castigated the Palestinian leadership.

However, despite his great vulnerability, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has acted courageously. He frankly and unequivocally told his people, in Arabic, that he will not tolerate violence and warned militants against security violations. He has translated those words into deeds by forcefully confronting militant groups in Gaza.

Unfortunately, some Israeli policies, such as settlement expansion in the West Bank and the encirclement of Arab East Jerusalem by the separation barrier, undermine Mr. Abbas's policy of seeking freedom through negotiations and raise fears that a viable Palestinian state is being rendered impossible. This is the strongest argument for Palestinian extremists.

If Israel contributes to the failure of Mr. Abbas, it will not find him replaced by a more responsible or amenable partner.



American Task Force on Palestine



The July 19 editorial "Back to the Mideast Brink" said that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas could be "shoved to the sidelines" by Israeli military responses to the recent Palestinian terrorist attacks.

For this to be true, Mr. Abbas would have to be making a concerted effort to stop terrorism. He is not.

The Palestinian Authority will remain on the sidelines until it decides to get in the game.


New York