Dear Sir, I AM sorry to have to say it, but Ray Fleming's analysis of the Israel/Palestinian problem (Daily Bulletin, Saturday, 3rd June) is very wide of the mark. Indeed, it is so off target I barely know where to start. After Israel's voluntary withdrawal from the Gaza Zone, Hamas, already the most popular Palestinian party in the Zone (because among other things, of its implacable resistance to the existence of an Israeli state, plus its violent terrorist attacks on the Israeli civilian population) claimed that rather than Israel leaving Gaza of their own accord, it was driven out by the Hamas military wing. They carried this claim into their electioneering propaganda. If Mr Fleming examines the Hamas election manifesto he will see that the two salient points of it were: (1) the total elimination of Israel and its replacement by an Islamic Palestinian state wih Jerusalem as its capital. And (2) an end to corruption in government. Their landslide election victory based upon this manifesto thus made it impossible for them to recognise or negotiate with the Jewish State. Indeed, for them to do so would mean a complete departure from their manifesto obligation and would, or should, have to force a new general election. Abass's “ultimatum” is little more than a shabby attempt by a totally discredited politician, at any rate, in Palestinian eyes, (although the West, still pretending that the “Roadmap” has meaning, is clinging to him like a drowning man clinging to a lifebuoy because he at least is prepared to recognise Israel) to curry favour with the Palestinian electorate by making the terms of his “ultimatum” totally unacceptible to Israel and thus acceptible to Hamas. But in view of the fact that he was part of the Arafat government which literally stole over one-and-a-half billion US dollars, Hamas is committed to ridding themselves of him just as soon as they can get control of the military wing of the PLO. As to the West denying the terrorist Hamas government money, Mr Fleming should already know that Western governments are committed to the destruction of terrorism, not to providing financial succour for it. As to the plight of the ordinary Palestinian: they must be made to understand that if they vote for terrorism, civilised governments will turn their backs on them. And anyway, why should the West have to pick up the tab for the Palestinians? What is wrong with Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait providing a little cash?

David Lee, by e-mail