Can You Compare South African Blacks and Palestinians?
In the Opinion page article "Palestinians: Second-Class Citizens in the Territories," March 9, the author's comparison between apartheid and the situation of Palestinian Arabs in the territories is based in part on his selective citing of the recent State Department Report on Human Rights.
South African blacks seek citizenship and equal participation in their country, while Palestinian Arabs do not want Israeli citizenship or participation in Israeli society. Whereas South African blacks never viewed the dismantlement of South Africa as intrinsic to their struggle to end apartheid, the Arab states, the Palestinians, and the PLO long advocated and fought for Israel's destruction. Unfortunately, even as the Arab-Israeli peace process brings hope for peace, there are still many in the Arab wo rld who reject the existence of a safe and secure Jewish state in the Middle East.
The author failed to cite the following facts from the State Department report: Israel's receptivity to human-rights issues; recent easing of restrictions in the territories including the reopening of schools and universities; Palestinian terrorist violence against Israeli civilians and soldiers and intra-Palestinian violence carried out under the direction of the intifadah leadership.
Israeli policies in the territories were never in a vacuum. Comparisons with apartheid and arbitrary quotes from the State Department report only reinforce stale and hardened attitudes. It's time to cast aside the old rhetoric. Bluma Zuckerbrot, New York, Cheryl Cutler, Boston, Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith Changes in Bush's policies
The Opinion page column "Is Clinton Trying to Have It Both Ways on Gulf War?," March 17, is right on the mark. Still, I'm surprised the the author has not made similar observations regarding George Bush's integrity.
Over the past 12 years Mr. Bush has made 180 degree turns in his stands on abortion, "voodoo economics," and tax increases, all in the name of political expediency. He now regrets the bipartisan tax agreement only because of the "flak" it has caused him. He is also the leader who called for a kinder, gentler America and gave us Willie Horton, and urged the Kurds and Shiites of Iraq to rise up before watching them gunned down. Scott Freeman, Princeton, N.J. Funding UN peacekeeping efforts
Your editorial "The Cost of Peace," March 16, makes several good points. There is no doubt that United Nations peacekeeping has become so successful that more financial resources are needed.
Why not allow contributions to a special UN Peacekeeping Fund by private parties, including multinational corporations?
There is much publicity about defense industries and their support for military spending by national governments. But most industry makes more money from peace than from war, so why not let these businesses contribute directly to peacekeeping? Contributions would have to go into a general fund (in order to be independent of particular peacekeeping operations), and the UN secretary-general should have the power to refuse any contributions which might endanger the independence of the UN.
If the national governments are too devoted to their own military establishments to properly support UNpeacekeeping, it is time to let private persons concerned about peace make their own contributions directly to a UN Peacekeeping Fund. Ronald J. Glossop, Jennings, Mo., Prof. & Coordinator of Peace Studies, So. Illinois Univ. at Edwardsville