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In Israel's defense

I might have expected the editorial ''Peace For Terror?'' Aug. 17, to describe the recent terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians that occurred in the context of the Israel-Palestine Liberation Organization peace negotiations. Instead, your editorial attacked Israel's legitimate right of self-defense, which Israel exercised in carrying out a strike against those responsible for terrorist attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets.

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Intelligence services around the world are convinced that the recent bombings in Argentina and London are the work of the Iran-supported and Lebanon-based Hizbullah terrorist organization. Hizbullah maintains operational and training bases in Lebanon that have been used in numerous fatal attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians. In contrast to the opinion expressed in your editorial, Hizbullah Katyusha-rocket attacks on Israel's northern civilian population centers do represent ''a real threat to Isr ael.''

After accusing Israel of using the peace process with the Palestinians as a cover for attacks on Lebanon, the editorial attacks the Israel-PLO peace accord, calling it ''unjust.'' Such a description puts The Christian Science Monitor in the company of ''peace-loving'' nations like Libya, Iraq, and Iran.

Israel has no intention of imposing an unjust peace on its neighbors. Israel does not enjoy sending warplanes to bomb terrorist targets. However, Israel maintains the right to defend itself against the unpredictable and often deadly threats of terrorism, even if this means launching preemptive strikes. To suggest otherwise is to ask Israel to entrust its security to the goodwill of its enemies.

Dan Kyram Boston

Consul General of Israel

Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to ''Readers Write'' and may be sent by mail to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by Internet E-mail (200 words maximum) to OPED@RACHEL.CSPS.COM.

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