To the Editor:

The views presented in both the letters of Rod Swenson MFA ’69 and Andrew Junker (“Barak is not a man of peace, but an untried war criminal” and “Israeli offer to Palestinians in 2000 hardly ‘generous,'” 10/9) do nothing but ebb at the dwindling credibility of the Palestinian cause.

Whether one believes that Ehud Barak’s offer to the Palestinian people in Camp David was generous, sufficient or lacking is a matter of contention to be dealt with on the political spectrum. A forum for such discussion existed in the form of negotiations until Yasir Arafat walked away from the table without offering Barak a counteroffer. Within weeks (coincidentally or not), militants on the Palestinian side launched a full-fledged war against Israel and have been fighting ever since. They know no lines and respect no boundaries. They target teenagers at the mall, the elderly on buses, and babies in their carriages. They have made it clear that their intent is to destroy Israel and her people.

The decisions and horrific actions of this growing sector of the Palestinian population leave little room to appreciate the legitimate desire of those Palestinians who genuinely wish to live in peace, side-by-side with Israel. Rod Swenson’s preposterous claim that Barak (whose speech on Thursday was titled “The Peace of the Brave”) is a war criminal and Andrew Junker’s blatantly anti-Semitic referral to Israel as a “European colony” only add to the radicalization.

If there is any hope left for peace in the Middle East, it must begin with a genuine willingness to stop the ridiculous name-calling and to resume negotiations in which the two sides can exchange thoughts instead of bullets.

Ayalon Eliach ’06

October 9, 2002