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Letter: Limited peace

Sir: The recent peace agreement between Israel and Palestine (report, 24 October) has only a limited chance of success. Yasser Arafat's decision to expunge the destruction-of-Israel clause from the Palestinian Charter is unlikely to find many takers in the Muslim world, which continues to remain committed to fighting Israel to the bitter end.

The Israeli leadership needs to take a long-term view of history and take a cue from similar peace settlements between Muslim and non-Muslim nations. When India was divided and the state of Pakistan was created, the Indian leadership thought that it had solved the Hindu-Muslim problem once and for all. But that was an illusion, for there have been three armed confrontations between the two countries since 1947. The fourth one is going on in Kashmir right at this moment.

A top-down approach in which leaders, not masses, take decisions could not bring a lasting peace to the Indian sub-continent. It is difficult to see how such an approach could possibly work in the Middle East, where the existence of Israel continues to pose a challenge to the spirit of Islamic triumphalism.


Gants Hill, Essex