Your story "Peaceful straws in the Mideast wind" (International Outlook, July 29) is remarkably naive about the latest maneuvering in Arab-Israeli peace prospects.

Syria's President Hafez al-Assad had been a staunch supporter of terrorism, with responsibility for the bombing of the U. S. Marine barracks in Lebanon and the horrific Pan Am 103 terrorist act. He has committed mass murder and atrocities in Syria itself and holds nearly 5,000 Syrian Jews hostage.

To suggest that this leopard has changed his spots and Israel should simply trust Assad is unfortunate. It is furthermore incredibly sad to hint that humanitarian loan guarantees would be held hostage to anything that meets with disfavor in the Administration's eyes.

William E. Rapfogel

Executive Director

Institute for Public Affairs,

Union of Orthodox Jewish

Congregations of America

New York

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