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ISRAEL, ARABS NEED UNDERSTANDING, DIALOGUE IN CONFLICT IN MIDDLE EAST

I write in response to the Jan. 9 letter, "Editorial pushing Israel to bargain ignores history of the Middle East." That writer exhorts the reader to "imagine that 40 years ago you and your family moved into a house, after paying dearly for it . . . that immediately your closest neighbors physically attacked you . . . "

I ask you to consider another scenario: Imagine that you are struggling to keep a house that has been in your family for generations. Imagine that someone from a foreign government decides that your home no longer belongs to you and gives it to someone else. Imagine that you are forced to leave and to live somewhere that is no home at all. Imagine that your home is destroyed because, God forbid, you have "conspired" to try to retain some thread of human dignity.

The situation in Palestine is a tragic one for both the Israelis who struggled to make for themselves a homeland and for the Palestinians, many of whom have been deprived of their land, their freedom, and their human rights. The only hope for peace and justice for both peoples is to enter into dialogue, to try to understand one another, to make sacrifices in the name of peace. Discouraging the process of negotiation , as the writer does, is to encourage both the Israelis and the Palestinians to accept continuing pain.

I do not condone the violence that has been used by the Palestine Liberation Organization, nor do I condone the violence that has been promoted by the Israeli government against the Palestinians, but at present the PLO is the only representative the Palestinian people have. Furthermore, just being a Palestinian in itself places one in the position of being suspected of having ties with the PLO. Who does this leave for the Israelis to negotiate with?

I pray that a day will come when the world will recognize that all peoples of all races, nationalities and religions are human beings and that Israelis and Palestinians alike are deserving of the same fundamental human rights as you and I.

PAULA M. McNUTT
Buffalo

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