What the world says
Sir, – You report that according to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, “the decision to carry out the ground operation was made after Hamas continued to fire on Israel even after Israel accepted both an Egyptian cease-fire proposal on Tuesday and a UN initiative for a humanitarian lull in the fighting on Thursday” (“PM: Ground incursion is only way to deal with tunnels,” July 20).
It is not the only way, but fighting to win has never been our strong point, certainly not in recent years. The strongest military in the Middle East is unable to defeat a terrorist army that should be no match for us because we have voluntarily emasculated our soldiers in order that enemy civilians not be harmed. These so-called civilians dance with joy at the deaths of our people, so I am left with the question: Why are their lives more important than ours? We look for assurance and legitimacy for every action we take, which only projects our weakness and lack of faith in ourselves. We pathetically kvell when the world says we have a right to defend ourselves, but always with the proviso: not too much. With this outlook, Israeli citizens will continue to live under the threat of attack and our enemies will always have the upper hand.
YENTEL JACOBS Netanya
Sir, – There is little chance that American officials will alter their Pollyannaish belief that the Israeli- Palestinian issue can be solved if only Israel is willing to make more concessions.
The fiasco of the withdrawal from Gaza, as well a similar unilateral removal of Israeli troops from the buffer zone in southern Lebanon (which gave rise to the threat of rockets from Hezbollah), only heightened the danger of terrorist attacks. Recent developments should convince Israeli officials of the futility of unilateral actions that are designed to curry favor with the international community, but are viewed by the Palestinians as an indication of Israeli weakness.
It is important to relate to this through the other tragedy of the day – the downing of the Malaysian airliner. Can a responsible Israeli politician dare risk the horror of a similar disaster at Ben-Gurion Airport, which is within easy missile range from the “disputed” territories? A real peace with a demilitarized Palestinian state would be ideal, but since this currently is an unrealistic dream, Israeli leaders must be even more steadfast, unequivocally resisting any notion of giving up territory just to please their fickle friends in the international community.
REUVEN BARZEL Brookline, Massachusetts
Sir, – Should Malaysia or the Netherlands, whose citizens made up the vast majority of those who perished on Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, decide to take action against Russia or its proxies, I trust that proportional restraint will be exercised.
The same applies to any reaction by the Obama administration to shots fired from Mexico across the Rio Grande at US border patrol guards last Friday night! AVRAHAM FRIEDMAN Modi’in Illit
Life on the border
Sir, – I live on a kibbutz about a kilometer from the border with Gaza. At this moment we hear the sound of our tanks and artillery firing into Gaza. I look at Gaza City and all I see is smoke.
These past few days I have seen young soldiers (everybody looks young to me these days) with their weapons and equipment, just sitting on our lawn and waiting. And then, the other night, I saw some of them darkening their faces. I wished them luck and told them to be careful. As I write this they are inside Gaza and I know nothing about where they are and what they are going through.
For over 13 years we have had rockets hitting us now and then. It seems that until the rockets started hitting Tel Aviv, the general attitude in the country was that Hamas was “only” bombing in the South.
We, too, are citizens of Israel and we cannot and should not have to live with this.
God Bless our soldiers and protect them from harm. They are all my children today and when, God forbid, one of them dies, we mourn him as we would our own child.
DON SALIMAN Nahal Oz
Quite a compliment
Sir, – Watching anti-Israeli demonstrations that have erupted seemingly all over the world (“Anti-Israel protesters defy Holland ban, battle police in Paris,” UK Jews feel anti-Semitic backlash,” July 20), I have decided that we should take this as a compliment.
While thousands of deaths in Syria, daily killings and bombings in Iraq and Pakistan, a missile shooting down a passenger plane over Ukraine and constant terrorist atrocities in Africa fail to bring out the European masses to demonstrate, Israeli incursions into Gaza in the hope of reducing indiscriminate missile attacks on our civilian population succeed every time.
Why a compliment? Because these people are saying that the Western world expects a higher standard of behavior from us. Thank you, world! ELLIE MORRIS Aseret
Try to understand
Sir, – I feel compelled to reply to reader Mary Clarke (“More readers weigh in on the Gaza fighting,” Letters, July 20).
Can you really believe that Israel, an “intelligent nation,” would not prefer to work with the Palestinians to build a better future for their children and ours? However, their goal is to destroy us and this is why they have extreme organizations and arsenals of weapons instead of salaries, food and industry.
We left Gaza with greenhouses intact and houses they could live in. But they destroyed them, preferring to continue to live with “refugee status.”
Why? Because their leaders tell them it is only a matter of time until the “Zionist” entity is destroyed.
You must know that millions of dollars in aid has been sent to Gaza and the West Bank.
Have they used it to build houses, schools or industry? No.
They use it to build tunnels and buy weapons.
Gaza could have been a paradise and we would have helped its residents make it so. Instead, it has become a hell on earth.
So please, as an “ex-Israel supporter,” have the sensibility to see through the Palestinian propaganda and try to understand that we here in Israel just want to be left in peace in our promised land.
FREYA BINENFELD Petah Tikva
Sir, – I am absolutely sure that all those who criticize Israel wouldn’t mind having rockets fly at their hometowns. I am also sure they wouldn’t mind standing somewhere when a few terrorists pop out of a tunnel and start shooting and perhaps kidnapping.
I have no doubt they would, at the most, ask politely whether they wouldn’t mind stopping, at least for a while, maybe a few years.
I believe in the peace process and have criticized my government over the years for not doing enough to really proceed toward an agreement that would give all of us, Jews and Arabs, a quiet and decent life.
But we cannot accept anyone invading our land with tunnels or firing rockets at us for the sole purpose of killing and destroying. I think that under international law, this does not need to be debated.
I don’t think we need the approval of our critics – at least until they themselves can prove they’ve been in such a situation and really didn’t mind.
ILLANA KARMAN Beersheba