29 NOVEMBER 2003, Page 44

Striving for peace

From Frederick Forsyth Sir: It may seem odd for a gentile to take up the cudgels against a Jewish MP in the matter of excoriating Israel, but Gerald Kaufman's indictment omitted one crucial factor — the constant preparedness to negotiate peaceful co-existence ('Why not invade Israel?', 22 November). This is not a feature shared by the 'occupier' countries with which Mr Kaufman compared Israel.

In 1968, at his retirement home at Sde Boker, the great David Ben Gurion lengthily explained to me how hard he had sought peace with the Palestinian neighbours, starting with the ardently pro-Nazi Mufti Al-Husseini of Jerusalem. This tradition continued through other good men like Rabin and Barak. The Palestinian leadership simply spat in all their faces, eventually provoking the arrival of the awful Sharon.

That same spring I toured Sinai from coast to coast and north to south — but only with Israeli Special Forces. It was a recently captured war-zone. Go back today. For years Sinai has been Egyptian again, and Cairo is making a king's ransom from tourism and the spectacular scuba diving. Where once were razor wire and minefields are now divers and tour buses, Why? Because Cairo admitted the existence of Israel and forswore war. It can be done, Mr Kaufman, but it takes two.

For 55 years the Palestinian leadership has displayed a single quality; it must be the most disastrous, stupid, incompetent and corrupt in Man's history.

Frederick Forsyth

Hertford, Hertfordshire

From Ugur Karagadu Sir: It was a great disappointment to read an article so fraught with bias in such an esteemed magazine as The Spectator, Kaufman seems oblivious to the fact that Turkey intervened in Cyprus in accordance with the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee and, more importantly, to put an end to the 11 years of Kosovo-like persecution of the Turkish Cypriots at the hands of Greek Cypriots, who by force of arms usurped the binational government of Cyprus. Hence the only occupation in Cyprus is that of the 40year-old Greek Cypriot occupation of the seat of government of Cyprus. It was against this background that the Turkish Cypriot people, who were left stateless, established the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Kaufman's allegation regarding 'rigged electorates' is totally baseless. TRNC, like any other country in the world, has laws governing citizenship. According to these laws, a person has to live in North Cyprus for at least five years in order to become a citizen and thus vote in elections. I would like to stress that the High Election Board in the country is carefully scrutinising the electorate list.

It is ironic that Kaufman shows interest in the state of the cultural heritage in North Cyprus while ignoring the grave state of the Turkish-Muslim cultural heritage in South Cyprus. TRNC authorities do their utmost to protect and preserve the cultural heritage with meagre financial resources, due to the prevention by the Greek Cypriot administration of any international financial and expert aid to Northern Cyprus.

Ugur Karagozlu

Office of the London Representative, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, London WC1