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Readers write about peace between Israelis and Palestinians, how leadership builds the public's trust in government, and single-issue voters.

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Next US president must start early on Mideast peace

Regarding the Oct. 27 article, "Israel's Livni takes a risk with early elections": Kadima party leader Tzipi Livni's decision to hold parliamentary elections means that President Bush now has no chance of creating an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal before the end of his term. In fact, any hope people might have held for this should have been wiped away long ago.

Domestic challenges faced by the leaders of both the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority precluded progress on any peace agreement. Investigations into the financial transactions of outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, division between Fatah and Hamas, low support for Israeli and Palestinian political leaders – all were signs that a deal would be unlikely.

Moreover, it was naive to imagine that peace in the Middle East, a goal that has eluded quite a few American leaders, could be accomplished in the final year of an unpopular US president with low international standing.

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