To the Editor:
Re "Hurting Moderates, Helping Militants" (May 5):
It is always useful to devise policies that separate out extremists from moderates and that is no less true for dealing with the Palestinians as any other group. What Nathan Thrall fails to acknowledge, however, is that over the years, whatever policies Israel pursued, whether hardline or forthcoming, the Palestinian attitudes toward Israel do not dramatically change for the better.
The first Palestinian intifada in 1987 took place when Israel had a right-wing hardline government. The second intifada followed a generous peace offer to the Palestinians which had they accepted and would have led to an independent Palestinian state. Similarly, Hamas seems to win support among Palestinians both when Israel attacks it after rocket attacks against Israel and when Israel pulls out of Gaza to give Palestinians control over their destiny.
Too often, extremism toward Israel in the Palestinian world is a way of life and not a product of any particular Israeli policy. Convincing the Palestinians finally to abandon this destructive policy, most recently evidenced by the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation, should be a main goal of the international community.