Middle East Opinion


To the Editors of The Crimson:

Nine Lahoud's article on the Palestinian problem (May 16) is rife with distortion and clouding of crucial distinctions. Lahoud joins the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in denying the right of Jews to national self-determination when she quotes an Arab spokesman's specious distinction between Jews and Zionists--a distinction denied by all three major American Jewish denominations.

Lahoud participates in the PLO's weak rationalization for their unconscionable acts of terrorism by comparing them to Deir Yassin, a unique, atypical, and unauthorized 1948 military operation that was roundly condemned by the Jewish leadership. Throughout Israel's history, the few individual soldiers who have taken upon themselves to attack Arab civilians have been court martialed and imprisoned by the Israeli government. Compare this Zionist position to the praise of PLO, Syrian, and Saudi Arabian spokesmen for the recent PLO terrorist rampage on the Israeli coast, and to the cavalier attitude toward Palestinian lives which is symbolized by the PLO's placement of terrorist military bases in the midst of civilian population centers, a policy ensuring civilian casualties in any attack on PLO military targets.

Lahoud claims that 30 years of frustration have driven the Palestinians to terrorism. I believe that she underestimated the moral fiber of those she would defend. After 2000 years of frustration, Jews are still able to withstand the temptation of a terrorist policy. I suspect that the majority of innocent Palestinians, Lahoud notwithstanding, are strong enough to do the same--though I hope they will not have to wait as long as the Jews did.

Until a Palestinian leadership arises which is willing to base its claim on the deep-felt national identity of the Palestinian people, rather than on denial of the deep-felt national identity of the Jews, which will reciprocate the proclamation of Israel's first president, Chaim Weizmann, that "co-operation and friendly work with the Arab people must be the cornerstone of all our Zionist activities in the land of Israel," and which will advocate its cause with treaties at a peace table instead of with the grenades and machine guns of terrorist "freedom fighters" on civilian buses--until that day, the years of frustration will continue, for Jews as well as for Palestinians. --Russell Miller '78


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