Israel's role in the war on terrorism

Regarding the editorial "Israel as an Ally" (Oct. 5): Israel wants to make peace with the Palestinians. All Israelis ask is that Yasser Arafat end violence. Israelis and Americans want the same thing - an end to murderous terror. No one would expect America to lie down and accept the murder of its citizens. Israel should not accept this, either. The two countries should join to confront the Islamic extremists who threaten them.

Jordan Magill Sacramento, Calif.

Your editorial questioning Israel's behavior as a US ally seems peculiar, given your insistence that allies meet moral standards. The Monitor expects American allies to support the US during this crisis, combat terrorism, and share minimum moral standards. I couldn't agree more. Israel stands out as the only democratic government in the Middle East. Partly because it shares our core values and interests, Israel is an authentic ally. The world isolated the apartheid government of South Africa because it subjugated an entire category of citizens to second-class status. Why don't we apply the same standard to Islamic nations that deny rights to women? Does oil have something to do with our tolerance?

Eric H. Roth Mar Vista, Calif.

The recent tragedies in New York and Washington make it all the more important that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict be settled.

The United Nations should occupy an area between the Israelis and the Palestinians to provide a buffer zone. Palestinians would receive all of the West Bank that they were promised, and the Gaza Strip. The Golan Heights would be given to Syria. Jerusalem would be an open city governed by the UN. All religions would have access to their sacred sites in the city - but the UN would control the city, and the US would be out of it.

David Parshall and Joanne Haines

Stanwood, Mich.

Until recently, I found your reporting to be among the best, but I can't overlook your increasing sympathies with the motivations of extremist groups, as well as a growing bias in favor of an anti-Israeli interpretation of the Middle East conflict. Your coverage has become unbalanced, appeasing those who would harm Israel, the US, and Jews. You're going out of your way to portray Muslims in a positive light - something I support - but you're neglecting to acknowledge how vulnerable the Jewish population is, not only to backlash and scapegoating, but to attacks as the stated targets of extremists.

Amy B. Mantell Rochester, N.Y.

Has "occupied" slipped from your vocabulary when discussing the Palestinian territories? Israel illegally occupies the West Bank and Gaza, where most of the world recognizes Palestinian sovereignty. To omit military rerference to occupation is to mystify the source of conflict.

Barry Flanagan Tucker, Ga.

Much of the Middle East was carved and created by oil and petroleum interests nearly 100 years ago. Based on the need to feed industrial greed, we have supported dictators, overlooked human rights violations, destabilized legitimate governments, and propped up illegal governments. In an outpouring of post-Holocaust guilt, the Western world looked the other way when Israel was created by bloodshed and maintained with violence. I believe the only way we can resolve the hostility is to take some of our ill-gotten gains and apply them to the people we have wronged. We owe them our unabridged support of efforts to establish peaceful democracies. We cannot let oil and industry interests define a foreign policy that breeds terror.

Randy Johnson Sacramento, Calif.

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