Origins of the Israeli Conflict

I enjoyed the articles in the special report, "Peace in the Balance" (part 1, July 30) but would like to comment on the author's brief analysis of the Arab rejection of the UN partition resolution.

For the indigenous Arabs (Palestinians), the consequences of the partition were far more profound than the writer hints - economically debilitating would be a better description.

In "The Palestinians," Jonathan Dimbleby says the land allotted to the Jewish state "incorporated almost all of the fertile land, including the main citrus groves which the Arabs depended on for their main export earnings," as well as the barley- and wheat-producing Negev region.

The origins of this conflict are myriad and complex - yet the Western news media rarely addresses them. An in-depth, sympathetic presentation of the Palestinian point of view would do much to promote peace in this troubled area. Maybe a few West Bank teenagers would refuse to join a terrorist group; perhaps a few villagers would report bombing plots to the authorities. You never know until you try.

Patricia Gordon

Reno, Nev.

Thank you for the articles. The reporting is exceptional for its balanced perspective and depth of analysis. Like the author's other articles, these clearly show the short-sightedness of the recent arms buildup by the parties involved.

What's still lacking, however, is an analysis of why of the parties cling to these outmoded security approaches. When Arabs and Israelis, among others, are able to deal with each other as equals and establish a dialogue based on dignity for both, then peace will be attainable.

John D. Hymes Jr.

Murrells Inlet, S.C.

Tibet under Chinese jurisdiction

The article "After Decades, Tibet Won't Bend to Chinese Ways" (July 29) warrants further clarification.

Tibet has been part of China for more than 700 years. The region was peacefully liberated in 1951 through an agreement between the central people's government and the local government of Tibet. Tremendous changes have taken place, particularly since democratic reform was introduced in 1959.

In the old Tibet, under the Dalai Lama, more than 90 percent of the population was illiterate. Today, 73.5 percent of the children go to school. In the old Tibet, there were only two medical clinics. Today, there are more than 1,000. And, thanks to remarkable improvements in living conditions, the Tibetans' average lifespan has risen from 26 years before 1959 to the present average of 65 years. The Tibetan people also enjoy freedom of religious belief as stipulated in China's Constitution. Over the past decade or more, the central government has appropriated more than $24 million to renovate religious facilities. Today, there's a record number of Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and temples.

After Hong Kong returned to the embrace of the motherland, the Dalai Lama said he favored "autonomy" for Tibet under the "one country, two systems" formula. This is deceptive and absurd Deceptive because in all his contacts with the central government, the Dalai Lama has never given up his idea of independence for Tibet. That's the only reason talks have not started between the Dalai Lama and the central government.

Absurd because Hong Kong, which was occupied by a foreign country for more than 150 years, is a very different case. Tibet has always been under the jurisdiction of the central government. And what system would the Dalai Lama practice in Tibet - the serfdom of the old Tibet?

The Dalai Lama should give up his "independence for Tibet" position, stop his separatist activities, and do something beneficial for Tibet and the motherland.

Yu Shuning


Embassy of the People's Republic of China

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