Balanced Coverage of Israel Is Essential

The Opinion page article "Nonproliferation's Balance Sheet," July 26, is flawed by two strange omissions. First, with regard to the Middle East, there is no mention of Israel, which has adamantly refused to have anything to do with nonproliferation. Later, when listing the nuclear powers, the author ignores Israel again.

Unfortunately, this typifies American attitudes toward the Middle East. While we assiduously try to force Saddam Hussein to obey United Nations resolutions, we meekly accept Israel's violations over several decades. This can only be regarded as hypocrisy by the peoples of the area, confirming their worst fears about the prospects for peace.

Having recently returned from a visit to Israel and the West Bank, I have seen Israel's systematic disregard for human rights, which is subsidized by American taxpayers. It is based on the vain hope that an oppressed nation will eventually depart and leave its homeland to usurpers.

Now, while the world is again shocked by Israeli attacks against Lebanon, our government blithely blames Hizbullah. This ignores the fact that Hizbullah was formed in response to Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982. Its existence gives Israel an excuse to prolong that invasion indefinitely, using Lebanese territory as a "security zone." Clearly the extremists on both sides have more in common with each other than with the multitudes of Jews and Arabs who are longing for peace. Peter Yff, Muncie, Ind. Speculation on the impossible

The thought-provoking article "Forty Years Later, Reasons Why Korean War Ended Still Baffle Many Scholars," July 30, contains a remarkable quotation attributed to former Attorney General Herbert Brownell. He is reported to have explained that the Soviet Union could cite as proof of United States racial prejudice that "the US never used the atomic bomb against the Germans. They only did it against colored people."

Surely, Mr. Brownell must have known that the war against Germany was over by May 8, 1945, while the atomic bomb did not become a reality until after a successful test on July 16. Whether or not the US would have used the bomb against Germany may be debatable, but it could not possibly have done so when it did not possess it. Ernest P. Uiberall, Alexandria, Va. Native American women in office

The article "Multiplying Indian Casinos Draw Critics' Fire," Aug. 2, states that Associate Commissioner Jana McKeag of the National Indian Gaming Commission is the highest-ranking native American woman serving in the executive branch.

Ada Elizabeth Deer, an enrolled member of the Menominee Indian Tribe, was sworn in as the new assistant secretary of the interior for Indian Affairs on July 16. Perhaps it is only a matter of interpretation, but I believe that an assistant secretary might be considered higher than an associate commissioner. Roger Jensen, Zuni, N.M. Get out your paintbrush

I greatly enjoyed the coverage given the watercolor exhibit at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in the article "Boston's Timeless Love Affair With Watercolor," July 30. But I would like to correct the impression that is often given of the fragility of watercolor. Early watercolors do need to be preserved carefully, but today, with acid-free watercolor paper and board, and light-fast pigments, they are as durable and exhibitable as any other medium.

Today there is a flourishing subculture of serious watercolorists. Many cities and states have watercolor societies that hold juried exhibitions of high-quality work. The competition is fierce, and the paintings are greatly enjoyed by those who have discovered this little-publicized area of the art world.

The strong and vigorous styles of watercolor, hardly fragile, range from super-realism to abstraction. Charles McVicker, Rocky Hill, N.J.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please fax letters to (617) 450-2317 or mail them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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