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Letters to the Editor. Mideast policy

In ``Guns for Jordan'' [Sept. 10], Joseph C. Harsch falls into the same gaps with his argument that others have before him. He blames ``a foreign country acting in that country's interest'' for shaping of a one-sided American policy in the Middle East. He states, ``Israeli opposition has succeeded in keeping such deliveries [of weapons] to a minimum and has for some three years now largely prevented the US government from sending new supplies of modern weapons to Saudi Arabia and Jordan.'' What country does not act in its own interests? Historically, nationalistic behavior is more the rule than the exception, especially concerning issues of national security and survival. If Harsch blames Israel for acting in its own interest, how does he classify America's ``vital interest'' argument which has sanctified our own military buildup for the past decade and often placed us at odds with the national interests of other countries? Furthermore, any lobbying which takes place in Washington on beh alf of Israel is no less legal than lobbying by the AMA, the NRA, or the NAAA (National Association of Arab Americans). Arthur Caplan Pullman, Wash.

Israel's justification for its bombing of the PLO headquarters in Tunis sounds suspiciously like the one that was used as a pretext for the 1982 invasion of Lebanon. In the latter case, the shooting of Israel's ambassador to Britain was blamed on the PLO, even though Begin knew, from his own intelligence experts, that the attack was executed by an anti-Arafat dissident. A purported ``wave of terrorism'' in the West Bank has been attributed to the PLO, although, according to Robert Zelnick (Sept. 18), `` No evidence to date suggests that any [attacks on Jews] were planned, controlled, or executed by Palestinians residing outside Israeli-controlled territory.''

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The new attempt to liquidate Arafat and his staff is not so much designed to counter terrorism as, in the case of the invasion of Lebanon, to demolish Palestinian resistance in the West Bank and to head off the Jordanian-PLO peace initiative, which has just been given renewed support by Margaret Thatcher. Henry Fischer Sherman, Conn.

Peter Allen-Frost's column ``South Africa and Israel: An alliance of pragmatism'' (Sept. 25) discussed continuing economic and military ties between Israel and South Africa. As the article brought out, there are many similarities between Pretoria and Jerusalem when both are seen as minority governments in a black African and Arab world.

Rather than dwell on some ``inevitable'' doom of both governments, why not emphasize their prospects for peace? Stephen P. Schueller Elsah, Ill.

Peter Allen-Frost does an excellent job of describing the pragmatic alliance of Israel and South Africa. Unfortunately, the politics of the two nations are remarkably similar. I understand the American reaction to apartheid, and agree that such gross discrimination must end. What has always puzzled me is the American reaction to similar treatment in Israel. Perhaps our foreign policy should be broadened to reflect our human-rights interests in all peoples, not just the black people of South

Africa. Kirk Nevin White Hall, Md.

Joseph C. Harsch's comment on President Reagan's response to the Israeli air raid on Tunis is an example of integrity that is unfortunately rare when it comes to discussing Israel. One can add to the examples given to show how the application of Reagan's description of the Israeli raid as an understandable act of self-defense is flawed; but his argument is correct: It is the law of the jungle. M. Hallaj, Director Palestine Research and Educational Center Washington

President Reagan's support of Israel's raid of Tunisia is regrettable. Also regrettable is his statement that the USSR is free to behave in a similar fashion. If nations around the world took the law into their own hands and acted accordingly, there would be no end to the cycle of violence. Diana F. and Shaw J. Dallal New Hartford, N.Y.

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