Letter: 'Double standards' over Israel's expulsions

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The Independent Online
Sir: Despite the regrettable killing of the kidnapped Israeli soldier and the disproportionate Israeli retaliation, talks between Israelis and Arabs should continue. Both have had justifiable grievances, and it is not conducive to peace to lay the blame exclusively on one side or the other.

Without the democratisation of the Arab world, however, no new image of the Israelis will ever be created. Arab peoples will always be vulnerable to demagogic propaganda and, consequently, never open to new perceptions.

Given the wealth of the Arab world, and the special bonds between its nations, democracy will improve Arab peoples' lives. This will undoubtedly undermine fundamentalism.

Some have argued, however, that attempts at democratisation in the Arab world have not been successful, and have therefore asked why it would not be possible to make peace with authoritarian Arab regimes. However the fickleness of these regimes has long been recognised. Additionally, if they cannot give peace to their own peoples, how can they be expected to bring peace to the region?

The freedom of the Arab peoples within democratic societies is the bulwark for a comprehensive settlement in the region. Only through their enlightened choice and commitment can genuine peace have a chance.

Yours faithfully,

LU'AYY M. RIMAWI

London, N8

18 December

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