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'Us' and 'them' in Middle East

The first logical reaction to the opinion-page column "US Must Make Peace With Israel," Oct. 9, is to ask, "Why not the other way around?"But the headline points to a more serious issue still. It reaches to the heart of a doctrine which for a half-century has axed any hope of an evenhanded US policy in the Middle East. We are obliged, runs the murky rationale, to subordinate our own national interest to Israel's. One senses a subtle assertion that Jews are "us" but other Middle Easterners are only "them." A rational US Middle East policy would accommodate the Muslim world's own historic, religious, and just claims to Jerusalem. A fair US approach would recognize that Palestinians have called the Holy Land home for hundreds of years and still do. US policy should scotch irrefutably any notion that we stand ready to bleed in a war to bail out an intransigent Israel. And finally, we should wean Israel and others in the region from a colossal dole we can no longer afford. Our strength, resources, goodwill, and moral stature are not bottomless; we ought to employ them justly and in our own best interests. A just and neighborly Israel would be a fit candidate for a fair share of such help. Richard A. Jones, Benicia, Calif.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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