Contemplating a Palestinian state

Regarding your Jan. 7 editorial "A bomb's echoes": You assert that "Arafat's struggle to establish a Palestinian state may have suffered its severest blow" in Sunday's twin bomb attacks on civilians in Israel. You then undercut this statement by jumping to the need for a two-state solution.

While such a solution may be possible and even healthy for the region, this last act of terrorism must give everyone pause in considering the viability of any solution while Mr. Arafat is in power and terrorism rampant.

The world insists that Israel divide a state the size of New Hampshire with a homicidal element intent on its annihilation. Doesn't the world, which has enough Jewish blood on its hands already, have a greater responsibility to Israel than that?
Mel Belin
Arlington, Va.

Regarding "A bomb's echoes": Israeli attacks on civilians in occupied Palestine have been as despicable as any in the past. "A six-week lull in suicide bombings" saw Israel's usual steady grind of killing with a death toll of more than 25 Palestinians. Israel uses any reaction to its blood-drenched occupation as an excuse to block constructive action.

Walk in the streets of any Palestinian village and you will see that 3 million people here, not to mention the diaspora, want freedom from the vise-like grip of occupation. As I write, Israeli F-16s circle overhead. A local youth says, "If you were to write volumes of letters, it wouldn't be enough." Nobody pays attention. Start paying attention.
Dr. Annie Higgins
Jenin, West Bank
Jenin Refugee Camp

Your editorial implies that Palestinian terror is different this time because Arafat's Palestinian Authority is hurt in "several serious ways" - the London conference was delayed, the Cairo meeting jeopardized, etc.

You forget to mention that this act of terror, like many during the past two years, was planned not by the Islamic Jihad or Hamas but by Arafat's own "moderate" militia, the Al Aqsa Brigades, part of Fatah. From very early in the Oslo process, the PA, under Arafat, both incited violence and planned it.

It's doubtful that the majority of Palestinians will accept the compromises leading to such a solution until coerced by the international community. The PA helped ensure that good-will between these two states will be meager for a very long time.
Moshe Shalev
Nahariya, Israel

Of course the deaths and injuries caused by suicide bombs are terrible, as is the great number of Palestinian deaths and injuries suffered since the last suicide bomb. The Israeli reaction is sadly predictable. The bombings make peace more important, not less.

The US must insist on peace by action, not meaningless words that postpone it at Sharon's demand. The Palestinians have been waiting for justice for more than 50 years. They continue to be abused beyond all reason. What does one expect them to do?
Christopher Leadbeater
Hailey, England

Angel in a thrift shop

In response to the Jan. 8 Home Forum essay "The spirit of charity is rekindled in a thrift shop": It was good to read about a recipient of a random act of kindness.

Last year, I was the recipient of a number of these acts. A friend and I were given a free meal by a waitress grateful for our friendly banter at the end of a long day; a woman in a movie ticket line gave me a movie pass she couldn't use; and a company sent replacements for furniture lost in a move.

Being the recipient of these generous acts has put me on the lookout for opportunities to hand them out to others.
Gail Saul
St. Paul, Minn.

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