To the Editor:
If not for the continued Palestinian delegitimization of Israel, Mustafa Barghouthi's hope of a sovereign Palestinian state could have been realized years ago ("Make sure 'Gaza first' is not 'Gaza last,"' Views, Aug. 19).
Barghouthi criticizes Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for undertaking unilateral moves, while completely ignoring the reason for these policies: the absence of a reliable negotiating partner due to continuous Palestinian violence and terrorism.
Should the Palestinians succeed in asserting order in Gaza and clamp down on terrorist operations, Israeli-Palestinian negotiations can resume. Indeed, in countless interviews, Sharon has said that should the Palestinian Authority prove its ability to govern responsibly, there can be further concessions in the West Bank in the context of negotiations with the Palestinians.
It is unfortunate that Barghouthi pursues a line of approach that has ill-served the Palestinians for decades: blame Israel, never take responsibility concerning what the Palestinians themselves need to do, and never take steps to build on Israeli concessions. Let's hope that Barghouthi's perspective will not dominate Palestinian thinking in the period ahead.
Abraham H. Foxman