LETTER:Israel: torn apart by two forms of terrorism

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From Mr Oliver Kamm

Sir: Your comparison of Yitzhak Rabin (leading article, 6 November) to the late Egyptian president Anwar Sadat is inapt. Sadat was indeed, like Rabin, a brave man murdered by religious fanatics, but he deployed his courage in order to gain land - the 90 per cent of the territories occupied by Israel after the Six-Day War which were returned to Egypt under the Camp David accord. Rabin's courage was of a different quality and a higher order, for it led to Israel's relinquishing territory in the hope of diminishing the threat to its security. I share your wish that such a course should succeed, but deprecate your reluctance to acknowledge the awesome risks that Israel runs in pursuing it.

That the official opposition in what is a thriving - if not especially genteel - democracy should take the view that Israel's security, indeed its very existence, depends not on territorial concessions but on ensuring that external aggression is deterred and internal subversion defeated is neither surprising nor reprehensible. Your implication that, in expounding that view, Likud has elided the distinction between democratic politics and murderous bigotry is neither a fitting tribute to the memory of Yitzhak Rabin nor a credit to the reputation of a liberal newspaper.

Yours faithfully,

Oliver Kamm


6 November