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To understand Palestinian thought, you have to understand the occupation

To the editor: I wonder how one can possibly write about the perspectives of ordinary Palestinians — as Daniel Polisar does in his Op-Ed article — without once mentioning the word "occupation." ("What ordinary Palestinians think about Jews, Israel and violence," Op-Ed, Nov. 10)

The Palestinians who made up the poll respondents to whom Polisar refers might have been asked how they felt about their olive trees being cut down, or the wall, the long lines and humiliations at checkpoints, or the confiscation of land to build settlements.

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This is not meant to justify violence. I doubt violence is ever morally justified. But I wonder, is the occupation?

Martha Stevens, Studio City

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To the editor: If 83% of Palestinians believe that the state of Israel itself is occupying Palestinian lands, then the prospects for peace are indeed bleak.

The findings on Palestinian public opinion further undermine the argument of those contending that Israeli settlements are the primary roadblock to a peace agreement. How can anyone expect Israel to deal with people who have been brainwashed into believing that the murder of innocent men, women and children is justified in order to restore their claim to land they believe rightfully belongs to them?

Golda Meir spoke the truth when she said that peace will only be achieved when Arabs learn to love their children more than they hate the Jews.

Joel Friedman, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Polisar makes epic omissions in this article concerning Palestinian thoughts toward Israel.

He states, "Most Palestinians also believe Israel wants to drive them out entirely, especially from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, where the Al Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock stand," as if this is simple and unjustifiable paranoia. Far-right Israelis and settlers have threatened this move publicly.

Polisar gives no thought to the more than half a century of mistreatment toward Palestinians, including illegal settlement expansion and violence, home demolitions and olive tree orchard destruction, Israeli military atrocities, the barrier wall, arrests and confinements, brutality and continuous provocation and threats.

There is no end to the persecution that Palestinians face, and Polisar questions why they feel the way they do as if there was no provocation.

Ken Green, Cooper Landing, Alaska

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