Sir, - The fact that the United Nations had to disband the team which was to investigate what took place in Jenin proves just how powerful Israel's political influence is and also how totally ineffectual the UN is. Doesn't it seem incredible that Israel should have the power to decide the make-up of the investigating team set up by the United Nations? Did Iraq have any influence over the composition of the weapons inspectors sent there? Why should the UN inspectors and Kofi Annan be subjected to political pressure when it comes to the atttempt to get at the truth of what precisely took place in Jenin?

One hears much criticism of Yasser Arafat and how he is doing nothing to stop the suicide bombers who attack Israel. Apart from the fact that it must be impossible to stop a determined, fanatical suicide bomber, Arafat has been a prisoner in his HQ in the West Bank town of Ramallah and the Israelis have destroyed his police force and prisons. Even now, Ariel Sharon has stated on American television that there is no guarantee that Arafat will be allowed to return to his people if he leaves Ramallah. How in God's name can the man be expected to show effective leadership if he is restricted in such a manner?

It is becoming more and more clear that Ariel Sharon is an obstacle to any real and lasting peace in this sad and troubled region, and while the United States continues to support him in every way, and fails to insist on a full independent official investigation into what happened at Jenin, there will be no solution to this truly tragic problem. - Yours, etc.,


North Great George's Street,

Dublin, 1.