6 SEPTEMBER 1975, Page 4

Letters to the Editor

Israel and Arabs

From Dr Paul Laic

Sir: It was a welcome relief to read Patrick Cosgrave's references in his Middle East article (August 23) to the remarkable Open Bridges policy Israel pursues whereby over 150,000 Arabs from surrounding countries visit the West Bank of Palestine and Israel every summer. Aspects such as this are — unfortunately — seldom heard of in the press (even the serious press) with its policy by and large being only that tad news is good news'. By what can be gathered from most sections of the media, only antagonism and strife' exists between Jew and Arab in the Middle East whereas in fact the Israelis have created an Arab-Jew relationship which, if the world but knew it, or wanted to know it, is one of the great inspirations of mankind. So hurray to Patrick Cosgrave and to The Spectator for helping to bring to light one of the most extraordinary international events of our time — and extraordinary is certainly the word to use of the Israeli Open Bridges policy considering that it has been extended)even during the dark days of the Yom Kippur war) to peoples of countries who, to put it mildly, are antagonistic towards her. It was also welcome relief, apropos Mr Cosgrave's article, to have and hear the truth about the PLO and the West Bank Arabs. For, as he said, the PLO has no serious democratic support in the West Bank: indeed, and this must also be said, they have no right whatsoever to speak on behalf of the Arabs of the West Bank as they have no mandate from them at all with most of the West Bank Arabs wanting only peaceful relations with Israel and with most of them appreciating the political and economic benefits that living with Israel has brought.

It is high time as well that we had spelt out to us, as Patrick Cosgrave did, the danger to the West as well as Israel were the PLO ever to gain control of the Arab part of Palestine. It is significant indeed that Yasser Arafat and his colleagues are armed and (undoubtedly) financed by the Soviet Union (anyone will do for the Kremlin in their anti-West machinations). But what is really amazing in the whole matter is the hacking that so many liberal (and not so liberal) elements in this country and other countries of the West give to the concept of a PLO dominated Arab state in Palestine — for have they no idea at all how this would further endanger Western interests by allowing a Moscow orientated body to control an area that is of vital — and strategic — importance to us and the entire Western World?

Paul Lax 20 Parkhill Road, Shortlands, Bromley, Kent