Letter: Israeli-Arab accord

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Sir: Ostensibly writing about the conflicts in the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East, your letter-writer Randhir Singh Bain (26 October) has succumbed to the temptation to ventilate his rather distorted view about Islam.

The fact is that the Arab countries, Egypt and Jordan, have made peace with Israel; and Syria has often expressed a desire to do the same, if only Israel relin-quishes the Golan Heights. It is the right of Palestine to strive for nationhood and independence, not because they are Muslims - indeed some of the champions of Palestine have been Christians - but because under international law it is the right of every nation to have self-determination.

It seems rather strange and sad that a nation, Jews, who have been victims of atrocities throughout the centuries in Europe, and in the recent past victims of genocide, in their turn find it difficult to be magnanimous and show so little respect for the basic rights of a small nation. The constant use of this fiction that for her security she needs adjoining lands, which in law belong to the Arabs, cannot be a good reason for non- compliance of international agreements.

Her own military power and unwavering support from the mightiest power in the world has ensured the Israeli existence; her friends should perhaps persuade her to be a bit more law-abiding and conciliatory. I am sure with a genuine friendship between Israel and the Arabs there cannot but be a flourishing and happy region.