Letter: East Jerusalem for the Arabs

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Sir: Connor Cruise O'Brien mocks Jerusalem's pious Muslims for 'staying home and leaving (Teddy Kollek) to the electoral mercy of Allah' (Comment, 12 November). It should, however, be pointed out that:

1. East Jerusalem is, according to international consensus, an Arab city. The Palestinians' boycotting elections that would bring a foreigner to its mayorship is a matter of principle.

2. According to international law and Security Council resolutions, Israeli settlers are the equivalent of an occupying militia. Palestinians have every right to attack them and their army every which way they can. This is called resistance, which is how it was labelled, for example, when the French fought German occupation.

Mr O'Brien argues that the Gaza-Jericho plan is 'more likely to collapse at the Israeli than at the PLO end . . . (because) Israel is a democracy'. Subsequently, he asserts that

If . . . the Arafat administration takes on its own extremists, and succeeds in crushing them, the agreement will become a working partnership and in that event, the idea of a Palestinian state, at peace with Israel, becomes a real possibility.

Mr O'Brien does not say that the Arafat administration should be a democratic one tolerating all Palestinian factions and allowing them the right to elect their leadership. His arguments insinuate that if the Palestinians want their state, their administration must be a ruthless dictatorship. Talk about hypocrisy and double standards.

Yours faithfully,



15 November

(Photograph omitted)