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Root of conflict is not Palestinian independence [Letter]

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The Sun's concern that "what has been a conflict between the Jewish state and aspirations for a Palestinian one is turning into a war between the Israeli and Palestinian people" wrongly presumes that the core of the Israeli-Arab conflict has been the Palestinian struggle for statehood ("A dangerous turning point in Israel," July 8). If that truly was the case, the Palestinians would have accepted the 1948 partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states or would have created a state in the West Bank and Gaza prior to Israel's occupation of those areas in 1967 or would have accepted the opportunities for statehood offered by recent Israeli governments.

The fact that none of these scenarios happened reflects the sad reality that the root cause of the conflict is not Palestinians' unrealized hopes for independence but their rejection of a Jewish state in the Middle East. Instead of focusing on state building, Palestinians have, as a matter of policy, waged a personal war against Israel which, contrary to The Sun, long predates the recent murder of the three Israeli teenagers and the rocket attacks now raining on Israel's cities. No similar war has been, or ever will be, waged by the Israeli government against Palestinians and therein lies the key difference between the two protagonists.

Jay Bernstein, Baltimore

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