Who is protesting?
Sir, – With regard to “Thousands at Tel Aviv rally call to resume peace talks” (August 17), believe me, I want peace like most everyone else and admire all the people who spend an evening in Rabin Square to make themselves heard. But I have two questions: 1) Were there any Arabs taking part? 2) Are there similar rallies in Ramallah or Gaza?
RUTH SCHUELER Jerusalem
Sir, – On values there is no meaningful difference between the Center-Right and the Center- Left. We all want peace, freedom and good neighbors. The debate is about the best process to reach those values.
Israel has moved rightward because the process proposed by the Left is bankrupt. All the Left is left with is the political gamesmanship in which left-wingers try convince others that it is a fight about values. We are fighting for humanity itself, they say. And they keep accusing the Right of acting like fascists, which is the height of intellectual bankruptcy.
The Left is not fighting for humanity. Both sides are doing that. It is fighting for a solution matrix that unfortunately does not work.
The Right has legs left in its approach. My prediction is that Hamas will soon relent.
AHARON LIPSCHITZ Jerusalem
Down for the count Sir, – In “The numbers game” (Editorial, August 17) you devote all your efforts to disproving Hamas’s figures on casualties.
Since we know that all of Hamas’s rockets were aimed at Israeli population centers and 578 of them were even predicted to land in areas where civilian casualties were probable (because that is the number intercepted by Iron Dome), we should be advertising our own “casualty figures” as if those rockets had in fact detonated in their intended locations. A conservative estimate of 10 fatalities and 50 seriously wounded per rocket (also assuming no warning sirens or shelters, to equate with the situation in Gaza) would have yielded 5,780 Israeli civilians killed and 28,900 wounded, none of them combatants.
We don’t have to apologize for protecting our civilian population, but we don’t have to ignore the damage Hamas would have done had we not had sirens, shelters and Iron Dome.
HAIM SHALOM SNYDER Petah Tikva
Sir, – Your August 17 editorial sets out much useful information to discredit the so-called immoral actions of the IDF. However, as interesting as the facts and analysis might be, to truly understand Israel’s situation we need to consider a much more basic issue.
All of the attacks in Gaza were necessitated by Hamas’s sending over 100 rockets a day into Israel, starting even before Operation Protective Edge was initiated.
Surely it can be understood that any country being attacked by this many rockets day after day must do whatever is necessary to prevent these attacks.
Rationally, we would expect retaliation at the source of the attacks, the locations from where they originate. And thus the problem: With modern technology even major rockets can be sent from virtually any location without constructing complex launch sites. Since these rockets are sent from built-up areas, public institutions and civilian centers such as homes, schools and even hospitals, how do you stop them without damaging areas in which they are located? If there is ancillary damage, it is the fault of the terrorists sending the rockets.
To avoid innocent civilians being hurt Israel would have to accept continued attacks by hundreds of rockets. The fact that Israeli casualties have been small in number is not for lack of trying on the part of Hamas and the other terror groups. It is almost as if we are being penalized because we developed the Iron Dome anti-missile system.
Regrettably, little is written or presented with the reason why Israel’s defense policies have resulted in numerous Palestinian casualties, even without the exaggerated numbers. But it is either them or us.
It would be nice if the multiple critics of Israel’s defense would consider the realities of the situation we face instead of just using it as an excuse for Israel bashing.
JEROME POLLOCK Modi’in
With their own eyes
Sir, – I googled what polls have been saying about support for Israel with respect to Gaza.
That brought up US poll results, where there is strong support for Israel and support for the Palestinians in general, but very little for Hamas. The strongest support for Israel came from those who said they had been following the situation.
I assume Hamas-sourced statistics and pictures of death and destruction were effective in lowering support for Israel as the war continued. The media are hungry for images of destruction because they attract an audience.
The audience sympathizes with the sufferers and wants the suffering to stop. But Israel’s enormous efforts to minimize deaths and damage made a positive impression in the newspapers I read.
Truth doesn’t sell itself. Inviting foreigners to come see for themselves and allowing them free access to the southern areas of Israel under attack were a good move. The US very effectively embedded reporters with military units in the second Iraq war; perhaps the IDF might allow foreign reporters similar front-line access if there is a future conflict.
People believe their own eyes best.
MARY-ANNE SILLAMAA Toronto
The writer is a non-Jew who has a son studying in Israel UN and its agencies
Sir, – On Page 14 of your August 17 issue there is an op-ed about the United Nations Human Rights Council (“The UN Human Rights Council needs help”) and three letters about the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (“Criminal behavior”).
For many years we are witness to the failure of appealing to the UN. It is ineffective in conflict resolution, counter-productive, corrupt and dominated by dictatorships that do not help Christians or Jews or prevent terrorists from doing extreme damage.
The US government does not have the guts to expel the UN from New York City, and together with Israel it does not have the guts to drop its membership because it believes that diplomacy is so essential.
Expecting any good from it for Israel is futile.
DAVID ROTENBERG Jerusalem
Sir, – Two items in your August 15 issue elicited this response.
First, the letter from reader Jan Sokolovsky (“A double-double”), which quotes William Schabas himself confirming the double standard of the UNHRC. Second, “The US Congress must examine the United Nations Human Rights Council” (Observations).
It seems to me that the UNHRC should not merely be investigated but should be disbanded forthwith, followed in short shrift by the UN itself. A body that serves only to demonize Israel, that ignores the real human rights abuses committed around the globe and in fact is the antithesis of the purpose of its creation, is totally irrelevant in today’s world.
FREYDA ABRAMS Netanya
Like most politicians Sir, – As a former Chicagoan until my aliya in 1991, I very much enjoyed Ben Frank’s “Chicago, Chicago, that toddlin’ town” (Travel Trends, August 17). It brought back many memories of a wonderful city (second only to Jerusalem).
I have only one correction.
Frank wrote that Chicago got its name “Windy City” because of the strong winds blowing off Lake Michigan. That is a misconception that many people have.
In actuality it was named the “Windy City” due to the fact that its politicians were very “windy.”
HANNAH SONDHELM Jerusalem