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Not optimistic for Mideast peace

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Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2001 10:00 pm

In her commentary ("Reader responds to columns on Mideast,", Nov. 27), Lauri Merrill stated, in part, "How can there be peace when Islamic nations' basic demand is that Israel cease to exist?"

After World War II ended, I was stationed in a camp for displaced people. Although we could not fraternize with the German people, we could visit freely with the displaced people, mostly from Poland, and from them we learned about the Holocaust.

As young men, we could not grasp the enormity of the whole thing. I visited Dachau, where 250,000 men, women and children had died and were burned in the ovens.

When the Army newspaper, the "Stars & Stripes" reported that the Jews were going to be able to return to their Biblical homeland in Palestine, I thought that was great, because I had read somewhere that the Arabs, Christians and Jews had lived in peace before.

Then, in my opinion, the fledgling United Nations blew it. It decided to partition Palestine, where 80 percent of the country would make up the new state of Israel, and the remaining 20 percent would be annexed to Jordan, and at the same time, stated, "As a political entity Palestine ceases to exist." How did the U.N. expect the newly formed Arab League to take this?

I hoped that somehow the Arab states would allow Israel to live in peace, but the way things are going, I'm sorry to say I'm not very optimistic.

Walter White Lodi

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