Letter: Palestinian dialogue

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The Independent Online
Sir: I would like to disagree with the remarks made by my Conservative parliamentary colleague John Marshall (letter, 15 February). Whether Mr Marshall approves or not, the evidence is clear that the vast majority of Palestinians want to be represented by the PLO. For this reason, the PLO is recognised as the legitimate voice of the Palestinians by nearly all the countries in the United Nations, including our own.

In Israel, administrators used the ban on contacts by citizens with the PLO to imprison Israeli peace activists and those who have sought a dialogue for peace with the Palestinians. On 19 January, the Knesset voted 39-20 to repeal the ban. In so doing, it injected a rare sign of moderation and hope into the turbulent Middle East.

If you do not support the moderates today, do not be surprised if you are dealing with extremists tomorrow.

Yours faithfully,

CYRIL D. TOWNSEND

MP for Bexleyheath (Con)

House of Commons

London, SW1

17 February

The writer is chairman of the Conservative Middle East Council.

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