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Letters to the Editor

Readers write about the connections shared by Palestinians and Israelis, why it was foolish of the US to arm Al Qaeda in the 1980s, an pverlooked antiwar view on the Afghanistan conflict, and how some colleges are keeping the "student" in "student athlete."

April 6, 2009

We need more stories about the connections shared by Israelis and Palestinians

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Regarding the March 26 article, "For a few minutes, Arabs and Jews united by music": As an American Jew, I felt honored to read such an objective piece that showed me the capacity for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

The article says that "performers and ... survivors connected through music and ... gave one another some empathy for lives intertwined by conflict but separated by borders." The "intertwined" relationship between the Palestinians and Israelis is not always realized, and I think the mention of that connection sparks a feeling of tragedy in the reader in that a peaceful coexistence is so difficult to attain.

After the January conflict in Gaza, during which pain was felt on both sides, such an article might help to lead to a more cooperative relationship between Israelis and Palestinians. I strongly encourage the Monitor to produce similar articles that focus on the compassion of both sides, and perhaps some betterment can come out of the conflict. I know I speak on behalf of my community when, as a religious Jew, I say that all I want is mutual peace. Unfortunately, as an avid reader of several publications, I find that many writers don't focus on this aspect of the struggle. I appreciate the Monitor's doing so.

Joshua Fattal
New York

Arming Al Qaeda was naive of the US

Regarding the April 3 Opinion piece, "Don't be naive about Russia's real aims": I am confused by how author Ariel Cohen can condemn the invasion of Afghanistan by Russia and support the American response, which included arms for Osama bin Laden.

Perhaps if America had stayed out of Afghanistan in the 1980s, the World Trade Center would still be standing. In many ways, the groups America supported and armed served as an incubator for the later rise of the Taliban in the 1990s, including the training and arming of Osama bin Laden. Logic would have it that had we not armed them then, we would not need to shed American blood there now.

Perhaps what is arguably naive is the zealotry of radical and hypocritical policies, dating back to the Carter administration, of arming terrorists in foreign countries.