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In its editorial, "The Palestinians' choice," The News reproduced a series of shopworn distortions. It said Yasser Arafat opened the second Intifada, but Ariel Sharon surely deserves at least co-credit for his provocative trip to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the ensuing massacre of Palestinian protesters. It called Ehud Barak's peace plan "generous," but a plan that cuts the West Bank into a number of parched cantons subject to invasion by Israeli forces is hardly generous. It referred with disgust to Islamic terrorists, but spared not a word for Zionist terrorists who have slain more than 50 Palestinian civilians during the recent assault on Gaza. For instance, an Israeli army officer shot down 13-year-old Iman al-Hams as she was going to school, then emptied a clip in her to finish her off.

The News invoked Abba Eban on Palestinian "mulishness." If one wants to talk about intransigence, then we should first consider Israel's continuing violation of U.N. Resolution 242, which demanded an end to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories it had just conquered.

The first step toward ending the violence produced by an occupation must be that of the occupier. But Americans do have a role in bringing peace. Only when we stop propping up the Israeli occupation with billions in aid and loan guarantees annually will Israelis and Palestinians have any hope of a lasting peace between two sovereign states.

James Holstun


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