Let’s stay put
Sir, – With regard to “Israel will respond with force if Hamas resumes attacks” (August 8), we have attained our two objectives: Known tunnels were destroyed and Hamas itself was weakened.
Israel now must not be drawn back into Gaza.
The IDF has the firepower to destroy any target its wishes to destroy. Artillery and the air force should keep up the pressure 24 hours a day. If we pound Gaza for 10 days the war will be over.
The Israeli public is resilient.
Beyond any doubt it can find the strength to stand up to Hamas while world diplomats pressure the Islamists to drop those demands that caused the ceasefire to collapse.
By staying put and not going back in, we will deny Hamas any semblance of victory.
Sir, – The position taken by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (“Ban: Hamas rockets don’t justify attacks on UN facilities in Gaza,” August 7) is incredible.
Israel’s experience with the UN as a peacekeeping force and adjudicator has been very poor indeed. The findings of its investigations are blatantly biased against Israel. However, this is the first time I can recall that the UN has taken an active part in physically aiding Israel’s adversaries, becoming in essence an open belligerent.
Rockets are too large and heavy to be smuggled into a facility in one’s pocket or under a skirt. Rocket launchers require service and considerable space, even when mobile. The UN officials involved were not merely cognizant of the rockets’ existence – they had to have taken part in their installation and storage.
Sir, – Much has been said about war crimes in Gaza (“PA to send team to Gaza to ‘document IDF war crimes,’” August 7; “‘World powers must hold Israel accountable,’” August 1). But little of what has been said has any significance because it ignores the Geneva Conventions, which is the very basis of the definition of “war crime.”
It may seem strange but the Geneva Conventions explicitly permit attacks that kill civilians, provided that such attacks are directed against legitimate military targets: fighting forces, munition depots, munition factories, etc.
The reason for this is to prevent the use of civilians (“protected persons”) as hostages or human shields.
If it were forbidden to attack any place where civilians happened to be, armies would simply drag a few thousand along with them and declare that any attack against them is a war crime.
Fortunately, the authors of the Geneva Conventions foresaw this.
Rather than declaring that attacking a target where civilians happen to be is a war crime, they instead wisely declared that placing legitimate targets where civilians congregate is a war crime.
Thus, hiding munitions in schools, mosques, etc. (which amounts to turning them into munition depots) is the war crime, not striking places where munitions merely happen to be.
In short it is Hamas, not Israel, that is committing war crimes against Palestinian civilians in Gaza.
Sir, – Former US president Jimmy Carter picked the right date to criticize Israel for the disproportionate loss of civilian life in Gaza (“Carter calls Hamas a legitimate power,” August 7). He issued that statement on August 6, the very date the Japanese city of Hiroshima was atom-bombed by the US in 1945.
Rather be alive
Sir, – If we were to follow the advice given by Ami Ayalon in “On Operation Protective Edge, justice, law and victory” (“Comments & Features”, August 4) and have a Palestinian state in the pre- 1967 “borders” (armistice lines, in reality), it would bring about “in international eyes” a “just narrative” (really just a “big lie”) and an end to what is looked upon as “a foreign occupation” (really a reclamation and restoration of Jewish communities as the result of a just and defensive war).
Under Ayalon’s pre-1967 scenario, what would be the price to those of us Jews living under Arab guns and mortars, where over 80 percent of the Jewish population would be constantly within firing range? The “global public” might be more sympathetic to dead Jews, but I, for one, would rather be alive without such sympathy.
The phrase “two states for two peoples” sounds reasonable. Does that mean Ayalon recommends that Israeli Arabs be transferred to the Jordanian state, which controls 78% of Palestine and whose majority population is Palestinian?
Light vs darkness
Sir, – Let’s be clear: The conflict between Israel and Hamas is as close to a black-and-white situation as is possible in today’s world.
Col. Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, testified in October 2009 before the UN Human Rights Council that the IDF does more to safeguard the rights of civilians in combat zones than any other army in the history of warfare.”
Hamas, on the other hand, is a barbaric terrorist organization with no regard for the lives of civilians, whether Jew or Arab. The current conflict has, therefore, become a moral Rorschach test for both the Jewish and non-Jewish world.
Whoever is unable to unambiguously stand with Israel at this time is necessarily siding with the forces of darkness.
Sir, – Can anyone in our government please clearly explain why Israel drives into Gaza close to 2,000 truckloads of various supplies, and also provides water, electricity and other utilities to an enclave trying to kill as many Israelis as possible? The Jerusalem Post should interview the ministers who are responsible and have them explain this absurd situation while we are sacrificing so many of our wonderful young soldiers.
Time to talk
Sir, – Instead of carrying out a proactive vision for peace, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu makes it very clear that “mowing the lawn” every few years – in which innocent civilians, including many children, are killed – is an acceptable foreign policy. His reactive military nightmare in Gaza could have been avoided by setting up negotiations to work on the much more difficult root problems, for example, easing restrictions on the blockade. Not perfect, but a start.
Accepting as inevitable the continuing loss of innocent life is not only terrible foreign policy, but also an unforgivable sin. Are the lives of Israeli soldiers also so expendable that Israel’s rites of mourning become a routine matter? If Netanyahu does not negotiate, the next Gaza war will be here soon.
Sir, – As Israelis and Palestinians mourn their dead, and the world’s faraway onlookers condemn one side or the other, let all members of the human race be realistic enough to acknowledge that no amount of blood spilled by either side will bring peace in a thousand years.
Israelis and Palestinians will have to look forward, ignoring all past injustices committed by the other. Difficult as this may sound it seems to be the only price that will buy lasting peace for the two peoples.
There is a living precedent. The Dutch, French, Germans, Greeks and Poles who suffered unspeakable atrocities during the German occupation of their countries during the Second World War decided to forget the past and are now living in peace and prosperity with their former tormentors within a united European Union.