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Steve Cohen’s letter, “Preoccupied Territory” (The Mail, 11/11), is a rant concerning Israel’s occupied territories as referred to in your movie review of Paradise Now (“Violence Is Golden,” 11/11). Cohen’s issue is one of semantics concerning these territories.

No, Palestine is not a country, per se, but its people are indigenous and so its autonomy must be respected. One is reminded of “Manifest Destiny” as a mandate from God, to effectively annihilate the Native American culture by wresting away its land. Likewise, the Palestinians, because they do not own real-estate deeds to their homes, are not candidates for the dictum “God gave me this land.”

The land referred to as Palestine has many Biblical roots, but in the last centuries, it has been held by numerous absentee or nebulous “landlords”—to wit, the Ottoman Empire, Jordan, and the British Mandate on Palestine. Modern-day Israel was mandated by the United Nations as a “cleanser” for past Christian crimes, for which the indigenous Palestinians had no voice.

Further land expropriation and declarations are illegal under U.N. rulings and must consider or assimilate differing cultures.

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