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Two Peoples, One Land

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Sunday, May 12, 2002
Reader comments

To comment on "Two Peoples, One Land," you may e-mail us or call (206) 464-8478.

Thank you to all who have responded to date. We are posting some of your responses here as they come in, with minimal editing for clarity and legal considerations. The ratio of phone calls and e-mails so far has been about 4:1 positive over negative.


Thank you for the opportunity to comment on your Sunday special edition on the Middle East. I appreciate the evenhanded and balanced approach you took, and the depth of information you provided. Please keep giving your readers more, more than the typical, biased reporting from The New York Times.

As someone who has traveled in the Middle East and studied it for a number of years, I usually go to the international press for a "real picture" of what's happening on the ground, especially in Israel/Palestine. I'm glad that I may be able to add The Seattle Times as a go-to source on this issue.

A follow-up article on the Seattle residents who, under the auspices of the International Solidarity Movement, were in the West Bank during the recent Israeli military incursion would be of interest to Seattle readers. Their risking of their lives, imprisonment, and (in some cases) deportation to protect Palestinian civilians is something we'd like to learn more about. Local angles on international affairs are always popular.

Thanks again. Keep up the good work.


I have often wondered why it is that your paper is so biased against Israel in its reporting or rather the lack thereof as to the real issues behind the stories.

After reading your special report, it is clear to me as to why.

What I and others perceive as your bias stems from your lack of understanding of the fundamental key issues as well as your inability to research the facts and the context with which those facts occur as evidenced by your special report on the Middle East.

While your efforts to seek out advisers from the University of Washington was a good starting point, that should have been the beginning of your research and not an end in itself.

For example, your special report totally ignored the reasoning behind both the Balfour declaration as well as the White Paper; nor was there any discussion on the geopolitical implications of the conflict and the negative role that the Soviet Union played in creating the climate for both the '67 and '73 wars. And you totally ignored the consistency of the Arab rejectionist attitude that has been prevalent since day one.

I would have added at least four key books to your section of useful resources, starting with as a primer on the subject a book on the Jews and Arabs under the British Mandate, "One Palestine Complete" by Tom Segev; "The Medias War Against Israel" by Stephen Karetzky & Peter E. Goldman; "Myths and Facts, A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict"; and to then frame the conflict in its contemporary geopolitical context, "Total War 2006: The Future History of Global Conflict" by Simon Pearson. The latter book may not be available in the States and you might have to contact the publisher, Hodder & Stoughton in London, for a copy.

Mayer, Seattle

While your insert was interesting, it was one-sided favouring Israel. While this is nothing new for The Seattle Times, it would be refreshing if you would published an article that was not so biased.

For one, instead of "Islamic suicide bombers" try "Islamic extremist suicide bombers". Better yet, talk about why a person would feel driven to blow himself or herself up.

Rather annoyed with the article, I quit reading, so I don't know if you addressed this or not, but what about all the illegal manouvers the Israelis have done — settlements, war crimes, bulldozing houses, murder ... all of which have been acknowledged by the rest of the world; only the United States remains ignorant and blinded to Israel's atrocities!

Also, great justification for Israel starting the Six-Day War in 1967! It's so great to see The Seattle Times as the public-relations person for Israel.

Devon, Seattle

Your article fails miserably since you did not include a decent map. The little (sketch) map on page 6 (The peace process) is almost laughable — how can we possibly follow what's going on when there is no descriptive base? Get a full page map (or maps) showing roads, settlements, critical topography, population distribution/ownership claims, etc. Then you can start telling the story!


I am in the Naval Reserve so obviously this is a very serious issue for me. This article is so clear. I really enjoyed the article and it helped me to understand the crisis. I must admit I now have a different opionion on who I feel is correct in the issue. Once again thank you so much.

Name not given

I certainly respect you for making an attempt to "explain" the Middle East conflict. But as a retired teacher, I must put it on that 1-10 scale and give it a 4, with respectful cognition of Mike Fancher's note at the beginning of his Sunday column (he implies debate would never end).

The "history" you provide is incomplete and too short-handed. For example, when you note the pre-Israel U.N. proposal, you fail to note that the Arabs/Palestinians owned (had title to) about 93 percent of the land in question at that time. Accepting a 50-50 U.N. offer would have been extremely difficult to accept (especially if you were a title-holder who lived there for hundreds of years).

In other words, your history glosses over many of the details that require focus in order to understand the "rights" and "wrongs" of the situation.

Another example is the deliberate killing at Deir Yassein in order to "send a message" facilitating a Palestinian diaspora. Also, the reason why the word "democracy" has peculiar definition when applied to Israel that underlies its inability to have a written constitution — it is a theocracy, which reveals its latent heirarchy of human value. Also, the meaning of due process and human rights have a peculiar context that is not shown in your précis history. Or the "attractive" offer turned willy-nilly down last year by the Palestinians. Not noting that it is the one that would have created a checkerboard Palestine best suited for continued occupation.

Maybe there is more than the limitations of journalistic history involved in the many shortcomings.

Richard, Kenmore

Your Mideast Sunday supplement was an excellent general overview of the conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis over the last 130 years or so, with just enough history to give context to the current situation.

One element that was left out (perhaps unintentionally, or perhaps to intentionally avoid the appearance of favoritism), is the fact that Arabs, overwhelmingly, were pro-Nazi during the second World War. That reality reflected not only their hatred of western democracies and Jews, but the record indicates, those Arab leaders were philosophically in accord with fascism. Those leaders included the Saudis, the Jordanians and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, (Haj Amin el Husseini).

In 1947-48, when the Jews accepted the United Nations proposal for dual Palestinian-Israeli states, the Arabs said no. And it was that same Grand Mufti of Jerusalem who told his Palestinian brethren (paraphrasing) to leave your homes for now, because we will drive the Jews into the sea. When you return, you will have it all.

Did Israelis confiscate Palestinian land? There is little argu- ment they did exactly that in many cases. However, without being aware the Palestinians were directed by their leaders to leave the land, because we will drive the Jews into the sea, readers are only receiving part of the story.

On May 15, 1948, the Jewish leadership declared the establish- ment of the state of Israel. On that same date of May 15, 1948, Azzam Pasha, Secretary General of the Arab League, stated, “This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the crusades.”

As he spoke, five Arab armies, (Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon, if I remember correctly), attacked the 600,000 Jews residing in the new country. The war was supported and heavily funded by Saudi Arabia.

Nineteen years later, the attitude had not changed one whit. On May 17, 1967, Cairo radio proclaimed, “All Egypt is now pre- pared to plunge into total war which will put an end to Israel.” At that time, those kind of messages were continually repeated by the government-controlled media in Syria, Egypt and throughout the Arab world, (just as they are today).

After the 1973 war — started and lost by Egypt — Anwar Sadat, apparently, became convinced it was no longer worthwhile to continue spending resources and manpower trying to destroy Israel and the Jewish people. His overtures to Menachem Begin and Israel led to – if not friendship – an absence of war between Israel and Egypt. In exchange the Israelis returned the Sinai to Egypt.

The record shows Anwar Sadat was also pro-Nazi during WWII, and considered Hitler a great man — and said so publicly.

On political issues, human beings have a tendency to pick a side and then paint the opposing forces as black or white, depending on their individual perspectives. That is rarely the reality in most power conflicts. And certainly in this case all the cats involved are various shades of gray. Within that context, I believe it is important Americans understand that knee-jerk left-wing or right-wing reactions do not really apply to the current conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians, based on the merits of the arguments involved.

What does apply is the relative arguments between freedom and authoritarianism; between democracy and theocracy; between a preference for modern economic development, or medieval serfdom; between freedom of information or censorship; and between religious freedom or religious totalitarianism.

Part of understanding these conflicts would include the information left out of your supplement. Arab leadership was largely pro-Nazi during the WWII and as far as I can see — with a few notable exceptions — the philosophy of their current leadership reflect the same iron fist, clothed in the velvet glove of religion.

J.R., Seattle

Such an informative, great article. We spent much of the morning reading it and commenting. The picture on the front represents so well where we are in this conflict and the historical information and perspective is outstanding. It goes in our file of "special stuff to save." Thanks to all who worked to provide it to readers!

Emery and Jeanne, Oak Harbor, Wash.

Well, I must admit I am surprised by your special report on the Mideast crisis. It was quite good, and it summarized a lot of factual information with clarity.

Only one topic bothered me: Page 6 (The peace process), "2002 Camp David Talks," smooths over Arafat's refusing Barak's proposal by simply saying, "...talks broke off." The general consensus of all reporting is that Arafat had a super deal being offered and he turned it down. That issue was smoothed over again on that same page in the last paragraph of the center story (next to map of ancient city) by saying, "...was discussed but not finalized."

Anyone reading this entire section can get a much better picture of the situation. Watching Arafat's biography on A&E television helped me better understand much of his personal and political decisions ... and how $4.4 billion has not helped create an improved economic situation for statehood. Your statisitics reflect this sad truth.

Thanks for a good report. I will obtain several copies to send to friends in Israel.


A presentation on the Middle Eastern conflict such as that provided in the Sunday Times is certain to generate a good deal of disagreement, accusations of bias, suggestions for rewording, etc. Given the intense emotions associated with this conflict, this is to be expected and probably healthy.

However, the respective descriptions of Arafat and Sharon on page 7 (What now?) go well beyond unintentional bias and word-smithing. I noticed that four of the six paragraphs describing Sharon's background end with sentences citing his role in the alleged killing of civilians or his responsibility in settlement programs in "occupied territories". There is no mention at all that he was also a brilliant general who engineered Israeli victories against vastly superior Arab armies in 1956, 1967 and 1973.

The description of Arafat, on the other hand, somehow neglects to mention that he has headed an organization for about three decades that has intentionally targeted and murdered civilians, Olympic athletes, children, airline passengers and a number of other non-combatants. More recently, his involvement in the funding, support and coordination of terrorists whose stated mission includes the murder of civilians and the destruction of Israel is by now acknowledged by even the dullest of political observers.

The respective descriptions read as though they were written by the PLO public-relations department. This does not strike me as an error of omission — could someone really be that bad at their job? I urge you to issue not an apology but an acknowledgement that the author of that particular piece is biased to the point that objective reporting is no longer within his/her abilities. Sharon and Arafat both deserve accurate and even-handed treatment, and so do your readers.

David, Bellevue

Amazing. You manage to go through your lengthy article on the conflict in Israel without once mentioning the significance of the Temple Mount (and, by extension, Jerusalem) to the Jewish people. Besides being the traditional site of Abraham's binding and near-sacrifice of his son Isaac, Jerusalem's Temple Mount, as its name implies, was the site on which God commanded that the "Bet Ha'mikdash" (the Holy Temple) be built.

From the time of construction by King Solomon until destruction by the Romans — approximately one thousand years (with a brief interruption of approximately seventy years between Babylonian destruction of the First Temple and construction of the Second Temple) — the temples stood as the holiest place on earth to Jews. In fact, Judaism reveres the sanctity of the location even while no temple stands there to such an extent that Jewish law forbids treading over the former location of the temples.

Thus, the Temple Mount, that flattened mountaintop on which the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosques currently stand, remains the eternal holiest site to the Jews, and Jerusalem their holiest city and eternal capital. The Western (or Wailing) Wall is the remaining retaining wall of the Temple Mount, built by King Herod during his reconstruction of the Temple area, and is thus considered the holiest place Jews may currently worship.

This Jewish historical connection to Jerusalem is especially important in the current political context, as Chairman/General Arafat has repeatedly denied any Jewish historical claim to the Temple Mount or city of Jerusalem, and even denies that the temples ever existed, a position that must also perplex believing Christians as a negation of New Testament accounts of Jerusalem and the temple as the location of many of Jesus' activities.

Abraham, Seattle

I am a ninth grader at Skyline High, and I just wanted to share a few comments with you about the "Two Peoples, One Land" article and ask you a few questions. In the first page of this article, the writer states, "Both groups rely on force, aid from stronger nations and persuasive arguments that tell why each has a rightful claim to the land, and why the other does not."

Is this why the conflict has not yet been resolved? If two nations both rely on the same thing to achieve different outcomes, would there ever be an end to the dilemma? The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect a different outcome every time. Both the Israelis and the Palestinians have been bombing, shooting, and suicide bombing each other for years. Do they expect something different to become of all of this killing, or are the people over there really insane?

This problem has been going on for so long that it seems to be as usual as time, and has always been the same. Do people see an end to this? It seems like there is no end, because if leadership groups as powerful as the U.N. can't solve this, who can? Will the United States offer any more solutions, now the George W. is president? Thank you for taking your time to read my comments and questions.


I would like to submit several comments on your Middle East crisis special report.

1. First, let me please begin by thanking you for taking the time and energy to present readers with a relatively thorough and for-the-most-part unbiased report on this crisis. The United States of America is Israel's primary moral, military and economic supporter, and American citizens bear an enormous responsibility in this crisis, whether we like it or not. As the leaders of America pledge their support and our tax dollars to the state of Israel, we as individuals all too often choose not to get involved in the debate and, worse still, we choose not to take the time to understand the nature of this crisis and our involvement in it.

2. In reading your report I was extremely disappointed to see that you entirely omitted Dr. Baruch Goldstein's murder of 29 Palestinians at the Abraham Mosque in Hebron in February of 1994. This event is significant to this conflict for several reasons. First, it was the first act of violence committed by either side following the Oslo Accords. Oslo was a critical time for both sides, as Israel was at long last giving hope that the creation of a Palestinian state was possible, and conversely the PLO was finally willing to accept that Israel was here to stay. The effects of the Oslo Accords were so feared by the leadership on both sides, that the very existence of the talks was hidden from the public. The reaction of the Israelis and Palestinians to Oslo would frame the conflict to this day, and that it was an Israeli and not a Palestinian whose fanaticism began a new era of violence is very significant. It crushed the Palestinian support for a non-violent approach to the resolution of the conflict and fueled further suicide bombings in retaliation.

The Goldstein massacre was also significant, much like the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, because it showed us that the Palestinians are not alone in their use of "terror" attacks in this conflict. The Palestinians have been labeled as fanatics and militants for far too long, and this type of characterization is simply naive. While the Israeli government wields an official army, the Palestinian attacks are carried out by underground armies, like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and by despondent individuals who have known nothing but military conflict and life in refugee camps. This difference should not constitute the line drawn between right and wrong, and should not give us the right to label one group "terrorists" and the other "security forces." The Goldstein incident, the Rabin assassination and countless military strikes by the Israeli army and IDF are evidence of Israel's militancy, and should be accurately represented in the U.S. media.

Your timeline follows the Oslo Accords entry with the 1994 granting of Palestinian control over Gaza and Jericho and the Tel Aviv bus bombing, which killed 22 Israelis in October of 1994, eight months after the Goldstein massacre. This type of reporting is plainly irresponsible and suggests that the Palestinians alone are conducting "terror" attacks, and worse still, they are doing so in the face of Israeli concessions.

3. Your coverage of the 1967 war was also, I believe, very one-sided. You report that: "Belligerent talk and Arab alliances made it evident that Egypt, Syria and Jordan were planning to attack Israel. In response, Israel launched a pre-emptive strike on June 5." This summation is widely accepted by Americans as the whole story, and it is generally the Israeli line on justifying their military strikes in the Six-Day War. The fact is that Israel had, since 1951, been violating its agreements with Syria either militarily or with engineering projects relating to the hotly disputed waters of Lake Tiberias and the Huleh marshes of the Jordan River. Water is the key source of conflict between Syria and Israel, and is the primary reason that Israel has refused to return the Golan Heights to Syria. Also, there is plenty of evidence to support the position that Israel overstated the impending Arab threat which pre-empted the 1967 war, particularly along its border with Egypt. While a debate about what really happened would undoubtedly be fruitless, I believe your over-simplification of the causes of the Six-Day War is difficult to accept. Your report did not even question Israel's motives for attack, and made no reference to the international criticism of Israel's actions, which led to the now disputed U.N. resolution #242.

4. Why did you leave alone perhaps the most significant issue in the ongoing conflict between Israel and its neighbors: WATER? Water is far more important than oil to those who actually live in the Middle East, and it is central to this conflict.

5. I felt your summary of both Yasser Arafat and Ariel Sharon was both very important as well as even handed and worthy of comment.

Thank you for your report.


Your coverage of the Arab/Israeli problem in Israel has missed one critical point.

The hatred that began between Jew and Arab in Israel was a function of the rule of Great Britain. If you look at history, the British ruled their empire by the process of divide and conquer. In each of their colonies, they set one group against another to prevent them from getting together and kicking the British out.

For example, in India they found Mohammed Ali Jinnah, who taught the Moslems to hate the Hindus, and the result was Pakistan and India, plus hatred that exists to this day.

In Israel, they found Haj Amin El Husseini, who was more than willing to teach the Moslems (Arabs) to hate Jews. He was very good at it, as we can see today.

One has only to look at all of the British colonies. The legacy of Great Britain was hate. Go right down the line. In Uganda, they set Tutsi against Hutu; in the Sudan, it was black against Moslem; in Nigeria, it was Fulani against Ibo; in Canada, it was French Canadian against English Canadian.

This is the real tragedy of what is happening in the Middle East and no one seems to care who started it.

The problem is how do we get rid of this teaching.


Thanks very much for publishing the section on the Middle East — I found it very informative.

However, I have a question with respect to the timeline that you provided. What in the world is "B.C.E." and "C.E."? Why are you departing from the standard of time that has been used throughout world history — "B.C." and "A.D."? You can change the label, but not the most important event in history that marks the passage of time: the birth of Jesus Christ.

Kevin, Bellevue

Overall, the special section was thoughtful and thorough. However, I looked for more coverage about the threatened status of Christians and their institutions and property. Overall, Palestinian Christians are better educated and have more connections with the West and many have just moved out — at least temporarily.

However, many Christian churches, monasteries, etc. are under daily pressure to sell or evacuate. Christian churches and schools suffered unprovoked damage in the recent IDF invasions, and Christian schools and hospitals are constantly threatened.

So, what's the point of this harrassment? Can you guess? You might ask local Greek Orthodox or Lutherans, for instance.

Have you read Ha'aretz Daily today? Interesting proposals coming from Israel!

Constance, Seattle

Your article "Two People One Land" in last Sunday's edition served a very useful purpose. The Seattle Times is to be commended for its wisdom, and pehaps even courage, in printing it.

Daily coverage of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict by the media, newpapers included, almost always focuses on the stories of the day. Understanding, and reasonable judgment, of their significance, however, demands some knowledge of the history of this conflict, sadly lacking in the U.S., particularly on the part of those who have not observed the events over the past five decades and beyond.

The Seattle Times could add further to public understanding with articles addressing basic essential components of any agreement between the Israelis and the Palestininans, i.e. West Bank settlements, the right of return, borders and the status of Jerusalem. A series of articles in the daily edition, describing the arguments of both sides on these issues, would help provoke a much needed public dialogue.

Heated debate on how to address this conflict has been taking place within the Bush Administration for some time. Normally, factions within Congress echo such debate, and the public then largely becomes aware of the arguments through coverage by TV, the print media and radio. (One thinks of the Gulf War, Bosnia and Kosovo, not to mention such domestic issues as abortion, gun contol for example.) In the absence of public discourse on U.S. policy toward this conflict, by prominent officials and politicians, there is virtually no in-depth news coverage of the compromises required by both sides to settle the conflict.

As a result, the U.S. public remains largely uninformed, and unable to exert its influence on the most important foreign policy currently facing the nation. Without broad public awareness, and participation in the political process, U.S. policy remains in the hands of those special-interest groups with the most influence. These groups play a legitimate role, but their views do not necessarily represent the views of an informed public writ large.

Please continue your efforts to inform your readers on this vital subject. Only the influence of the U.S. can resolve this conflict. As your editorial board well understands, our failure to do so undermines U.S. foreign policy interests throughout the world.

Gordon, Blaine, Wash.

First, let me thank you for producing this much-needed section, which I hope will be read carefully by many and saved for future reference. On the whole, I thought it was quite fair and well-researched.

However, as a supporter of the Palestinian cause, I would have liked to see mention of the fact that Palestinians did not simply "leave" their homes when the Zionists moved into newly created Israel in l947-48 but were terrified and threatened into fleeing by the new immigrants, often by rumors that if they did not, they would be killed. Remember Deir Yassin, for example.

I also would have liked to see a much clearer map of the current state of the hundreds of settlements in the West Bank, showing the bypass roads that are forbidden to Palestinians, which leave the West Bank looking like a pocket of small Bantustans, and which make the idea of a viable nation for the Palestinians impossible.

But thank you, nevertheless.

Charlotte, Seattle

Thanks, Seattle Times, for the special report on the Middle East. My experience in that area makes me agree with Archbishop Desmond Tutu when he observes that Israel will never have the security it desires as long as it is an occupying force in the West Bank and Gaza.

In the spring of 1995, my husband and I spent several weeks in the Middle East, mostly with a peace group. We lived with a Palestinian family in a village near Nablus in the West Bank and spent the better part of two weeks planting trees with people from the village, and finding out firsthand about the situation there.

Several incidents come to mind: Walking along the road, when an older Jewish man pulled his van over and asked us what we were doing, and weren't we afraid of the Arabs. I noticed the obvious fear on our Palestinian host's face as he urged us not to answer and hurried away. But my husband and I talked cordially with this man for fifteen minutes and he parted with a smile, saying he could remember when Jews and Palestinians lived together in peace.

Another day a couple of Jewish settlers pulled their car over along the field where we were planting trees and asked us what we were doing with "these Arab dogs." The leader of our delegation started to explain and was shouted down by these two saying, "This is our land; God gave it to us. The Arabs can go live somewhere else." Our leader asked where these particular settlers had come from (the U.S.) and how long they had lived there (a few years). She then mentioned that most of these Palestinians' family history went back several hundred years in this valley and how did these new immigrants justify occupying their land. Well, that really set the settlers shouting and brandishing their guns, and I slowly backed away, not trusting their hot tempers with guns in hand.

The family we lived with had experienced the Israeli army coming to their house in the middle of the night and taking their sons away. The father made his living transporting fruits and vegetables from Jericho back to the Nablus area and he and others never knew how much delay and humiliation they would get at the ever-present checkpoints.

Permits had to be issued by the Israeli army to carry out many normal functions of society, and the delays and randomness of approval caused much irritation and discouragement to the Palestinians. I could understand the hopelessness and frustrations of these Palestinians living in this state of limbo and powerlessness for decades, many still in crowded refugee camps.

Our group met with officials and groups from both societies, and two of our group were Jewish: our leader, and the other, an Israeli citizen. We heard the anguish of Israelis who had lost family or friends, and the mirror laments of Palestinians.

I don't think any progress will be made toward a peaceful resolution until the settlements are abandoned or at least scaled way back and Palestinians can feel hopeful about a functioning state free of occupation. Ariel Sharon does not want to even consider this now and feels he must intensify control to protect Israel's security. His own party recently voted (against Sharon's objection) to reject the idea of a Palestinian state. How can this cycle of oppression, violence and retaliation end?

Archbishop Tutu, when asked this same question recently, said no one thought the situation could be resolved in South Africa either without a terrible bloodbath, and it was. So, I guess I just write this long commentary to ask for people to hold the Middle East situation in your prayers, and urge political leaders to work for justice.

Karen, Clinton, Wash.

I just had to comment on The Seattle Times' Middle East special edition. It clarified many confusing and misunderstood issues in this volatile part of our world. The analysis was superbly done. Thanks to your article, my family and I have a more definitive perspective on the current conflict. I'm passing it along to others.


The one thing that's missing in any detail from your article (which I thought was extremely well done, by the way) is: Why is the U.S. so involved in this conflict, and why have we taken the side of the Israelis?

My thoughts on the subject — given only this article to go by — are that in the very beginning, Abraham's people went to Canaan from Ur (Iraq). They were not born there; they settled there. Did they take it over from other people who were there at the time? Even if they did not, and they settled into a land that did not belong to someone else before they arrived, they chose to leave and go to Egypt. I understand that they left for a good reason — famine — but nonetheless, they did leave by their own free will. I feel at that point they lost the right of ownership of Canaan, and the people who lived there at that time — the ones who somehow managed to live through the famine — had ownership of it. From the beginning this land has been conquered by one nation after another and the Israelites are just one of the many doing the conquering. If we would have stayed out of it in 1948, the Arab states would have been the latest in a long line of conquerors.

Which brings me back to ... why did we take Israel's side? If you took religion out of it, I wonder if the U.N. might not have just as easily taken Palestine's side (before terrorism came into it).

I would like to hear what others are saying after reading this article. Do you have a site that has message boards? I think that there has been too much terrorism from the PLO for many people to take any but the Israeli side, but I would be curious to know.

Thank you for the article. I have wanted to understand the conflict for a long time but couldn't seem to get myself to the library to do the research. I'm 42 years old and this is the first newspaper that I have ever bought — read many, but have never actually bought one before.

Name not given

Great compilation of the issues. It should be picked up nationally. Eliminates the biased rhetoric that you get with talk shows. Especially like the definition of Semite. I will keep it for future reference.


After reading the article of "Two Peoples, One Land," I have learned much more about the conflicts in the Mideast. I paid special attention to the wars that have happened in the past because I believe the wars are the main obstacles to a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

I believe the reason that wars and fights break out every time both sides try to follow a peace plan is because of where the territories of each side are. Because there are Palestinian states and Israeli territories all within the West Bank.

So the best way to resolve this problem is to make a land separation of the West Bank of north and south, where the middle line between will be the horizontal line that goes across Jerusalem. The line in the middle, between north and south of Jerusalem, would be an international territory because that's where the Dome of Rock, of the Jews, and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, of the Muslims, are. With this resolution, each side would gain the equal amount of space and also not dispute about the Holy Land of Jerusalem.

I think this would work because then both sides in the West Bank would not be scattered all over, and actually be united and organized. The West Bank should also be protected or secured by the United Nation's forces so major wars will not break out between the two sides. Because after the two sides are divided, they will certainly gain more power because of the unity they gain.. I also believe that the Gaza Strip and Golan Heights should be divided among the two groups. One should gain Gaza while the other side gains Golan Heights. After all these territory changes have been made, the territories that Palestinians gain should become Palestinian states. Palestinians will decrease their terrorism on the Israelis because of their past claim of this Holy Land while the Israelis will try and discuss about possibilities of peace accords.

If a peace has been determined in the Mideast, the people of the Mideast should build a building that honors all the important people their religions — Abraham, Isaaz, Ishmael and Moses — who were believed to have contributed to the distribution of the Holy Land to the Jews, Muslims and Christians.


You've done an outstanding job of collecting accurate information and presenting it in a remarkably even-handed way.

I hope that The Times administration will not be swayed from continuing such honest coverage by the angry comments sure to be generated by this report. There will be shouts of outrage, canceled subscriptions, etc. from people on all sides, especially from the most vehement supporters of Israel.

Accurate information on the history of the conflict is often not to their taste, revealing as it does that many of Israel's actions are just as illegal and just as worthy of being called "terrorist" as those of Palestine. But the growing numbers of American Jews who love Israel AND object to its recent behavior will be grateful to you.

Similarly, some pro-Palestinian readers will object that sections on the PLO are biased while coverage of Israel's recent acts does not go far enough. But if you're making both extremes angry, you must be doing something right!

The best thing about the whole report is its reasoned tone, the visible effort to defuse the violent rhetoric that has dominated "discussion" on all sides. Israel and Palestine will learn — because they must — to live side by side in peace. That will happen faster when Americans better understand the history and the stakes of the conflict, so that our nation can wield its power in support of peace instead of in blind partisan support of Israel.

Thank you.

Alison, Tacoma

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