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`Peace Match' Counters Xenophobic Image

The warning given by the article ``Anti-Foreign Measures Herald France's Retreat From the World,'' Sept. 29, is valid, and not only for France. However, I recently witnessed a touching counterexample suggesting it is premature to write France off to chauvinist introversion.

On Oct. 8, a stellar roster of retired French footballers (Michel Palatini included) played a Palestinian team in a ``peace match.''

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The site was Jericho. The Israeli Army took a low profile as thousands of Palestinians converged on the vastly overextended stadium in a nationalist spree. Flags flew and patriotic speeches blared. Street vendors made up for months of commercial drought. But dust, heat, and chaos threatened to engulf the event and the players. Many ``sought to see ... and could not for the press.''

In the end, the uplifting spirit of peace, international goodwill, and sportsmanship prevailed. While Palestine scored the only goal, in fact everyone won.

The gesture of those world class French athletes and official organizers was anything but xenophobic.

The example should temper the warning and perhaps remind us Yankees of just whose inspiration produced our internationalist Statue of Liberty. Now there's the true esprit de France! Lance Matteson, East Jerusalem

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