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To the editors:
Had the Palestinian Authority made any effort to reach a comprehensive peace deal at the 2000 Camp David summit—at which it rejected a very generous offer and made no counterproposal—there would not only be a Palestine today, but a Palestinian flag included, without objection, at virtually every official flag display worldwide. (Editorial, “A Tarnished Silver Anniversary,” Oct. 2). The Kennedy School of Government’s (KSG) Anniversary parade would have been no exception.
The reason the Palestinian flag was excluded, alternatively, has much to do with what the flag symbolizes. The Palestinian flag is the official symbol of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), a ruthless organization that has committed atrocities worldwide against both Israeli and American targets. Attempts to convert terrorists into diplomats failed tremendously; the Palestinian Authority, after refusing the 2000 peace offer from Israel, proceeded to send over 100 suicide bombers into Israeli civilian areas claiming the lives of over 850 individuals. As a result, a Palestine is now further away than it has ever been.
The KSG’s decision not to display the flag was a correct and noble one. The KSG lacks the authority to presuppose a Palestinian state. Time will tell whether the Palestinian leadership and population can embrace liberal democracy and live peacefully with the Israel. Until that happens, however, the Palestinian flag will remain the symbol of the terrorist PLO—an icon that no responsible institution should ever feel the need to display.
Eric R. Trager ’05
Oct. 9, 2003
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