Handling Hamas

Sir, – The response of our prime minister to the death of Daniel Tragerman – “Hamas will pay a heavy price for this terrorist attack” (“4-year-old Daniel Tragerman, killed by Gazan mortar shell, to be buried today,” August 24) – is that we will avenge his death. In short, more killing.

It seems that this is the only response Netanyahu has to offer. It will not help the parents in any way; the only sure thing it will bring is more deaths, including children, on both sides.

No one is saying that Israel should not defend itself, but how much better would it have been to issue a statement such as: “Israel regrets the killing of innocent children on both sides and will do all it can to bring the hostilities to an end as soon as possible.” Belligerent talk that no one really believes – except possibly Netanyahu himself and a few right-wing supporters – only inflates the position we are facing.

STANLEY CANNING
Kfar Hamaccabi

Sir, – Ariel Sharon forcibly evacuated Jewish settlers and consequently enabled the Hamas terrorists to take hold of the Gaza Strip. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is being even more successful – under his management Jews living around the Gaza Strip are leaving voluntarily. Bravo, Bibi! His minister of defense and chief of staff in this enterprise are accessories after the fact.

DAVID WENKART
Arad

Sir, – Missiles are still raining down on Israel and our southern residents do not have quiet.

If Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, cannot do the job, it is morally and strategically incumbent on them to step aside and find suitable replacements who are able to look after the citizens of Israel.

GIDEON HACK
Zichron Ya’acov

Sir, – We’ve heard too many impotent threats to Hamas from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

The enemy doesn’t believe them and we, the public, don’t need them.

What we need is less talk and more action. So instead of wasting valuable time and effort, shoot or get off the pot.

SHMUEL SHIMSHONI
Hadera

Siege, not attrition

Sir, – Amotz Asa-El lists several instances of wars of attrition, including the one on Jerusalem by the Roman Vespasian (“Who’s afraid of a war of attrition?” Middle Israel, August 22).

A simpler, quicker and much more humanitarian way of ending the conflict would be to stop supplying Gaza with food, electricity and water, as Vespasian did to Jerusalem 2,000 years ago. Fewer people would die by bombing and Israel would not be accused of killing children. The war would end due to a lack of food, electricity and even perhaps medical supplies.

Never in recorded history has an army, given the advantage of a possible siege, continued to give its adversary supplies to enable it to continue the conflict.

We might just as well make sure that their supply of munitions is kept up.

JACK BARETTI
Jerusalem

Sir, – So Amotz Asa-El thinks that Messrs. Netanyahu and Ya’alon are considering a war of attrition against Gaza. He might want to discuss that with the man who is supplying Gaza with food and electricity. That man sits in the prime minister’s office.

Attrition has a long path and a short path. No sense doing it if you choose the long path.

ISRAEL PICKHOLTZ
Jerusalem

This is war

Sir, – I agree with Caroline B. Glick (“Why Israel is losing the information war,” Column One, Aug 20).

For 35 years I have been writing and fighting in support of Israel. As a resident of Washington, DC, I actively produced pamphlets for distribution on US campuses that the Israeli embassy was afraid to produce.

Since making aliya 18 years ago I have been writing a blog (Isblog) that seeks to tell Israel’s side in a positive and aggressive manner.

Forget about hasbara (public diplomacy), forget about the niceties. I have been fighting the propaganda war. What matters is PR, spin and effectiveness.

Yes, we have a great case, and yes, we have truth on our side, but who cares about that unless the case is presented positively and effectively. Our enemies – and I include the western liberal media in this category – certainly don’t care; they spin and distort the news against us constantly.

During World War II, Britain managed the news. It fooled the Germans into thinking their rocket trajectories were too long, so they reduced them until they were firing rockets into farmland instead of London.

It dropped dead soldiers into the sea with false papers to fool the enemy. It issued positive news stories to support domestic morale.

It is well known that in war, truth is the first casualty. But this is war, and the only thing that matters in war is winning.

JACK COHEN
Netanya

Sir, – Caroline B. Glick, as usual, hits the nail precisely on the head. The information war cannot be won defensively.

Glick recommends opening prosecutions for war crimes against Hamas leaders and operatives – an excellent idea. However, this should be complemented by forcefully making the case for Israel’s right to the entire land between the Jordan River and the sea. The Levy Report, which laid the legal foundation for this, should be promulgated by our government.

Historically, the Balfour Declaration and its subsequent reiteration by the League of Nations should be studied extensively in the history departments of our universities. The religious and moral claims should be pursued vigorously by bolstering existing departments or establishing new departments. Experts in Islamic studies should also be encouraged to publish research that shows that even the Koran refers to Jewish rights to the Land of Israel. This, combined with the plethora of Jewish law referring to our rights to the land can form another fertile field of academic study. The cost of subsidizing these departments would be trivial.

Naturally, none of these efforts will have any impact on the fanatical Islamists who form the leading edge of terrorism today, but they are not the target.

If we are to prevail, as indeed we must if we wish to survive, we have to first to convince ourselves that we have a viable, legal, moral and religious claim to the land. Then we can persuade the Western world of the justice of our cause.

STEPHEN COHEN
Ma’aleh Adumim

False prayer

Sir, – I think the real problem discussed in “Ministry justifies complaint against Yad L’achim” (August 22) was sidestepped.

The issue is not only a public servant receiving money for services that should not be charged for, but more importantly the fraudulent claim that a rabbi can pray for someone else to find a mate or achieve anything similar.

No one can pray for someone else. Anyone who is in need of a solution to a problem needs to pray personally, not through another.

Yad L’achim does fine work generally but should not be in the business of false prayer, and then in addition ask for a donation.

URI HIRSCH
Netanya

CLARIFICATION

“Ministry justifies complaint against Yad L’achim” erroneously described a complaint upheld by the Religious Services Ministry with regard to a state-employed rabbi allowing his name to be used in conjunction with a Yad L’achim fund-raising drive. The complaint was lodged against Rabbi Yehiel Abuhatzeira, chief rabbi of Ramle, and not against Yad L’achim.

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