Sir, – With regard to “Obama to PM: Humanitarian cease-fire is ‘imperative’” (July 28), in September 1938 British prime minister Neville Chamberlain signed with the Nazis the Munich Agreement, returning to England saying there would be “peace in our time.” Well, US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are doing the same thing by siding with Hamas, putting undue pressure on our government with the help of the UN and EU.

They say we have the right to defend ourselves but we must keep civilian casualties low. How can we? Hamas rockets and mortars are surrounded by civilians.

In World War II, when the Germans surrounded the 101st Airborne Division and demanded that it surrender, its acting commander, Brig.-Gen. Anthony McAuliffe, had a one-word answer: Nuts, his way of saying no. This is the third time in less than a decade that we are fighting against Hamas. Our government must now state a similar sentiment in two words: Never again.

MURRAY JOSEPH
Kiryat Motzkin

Sir, – For the life of me I cannot understand why we have not accepted John Kerry’s latest cease-fire plan. When I consider the American successes in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Korea, Lebanon, Libya, Syria, Turkey, Russia and Vietnam, I just don’t comprehend our reluctance.

Clearly, the Americans know what they’re doing!

YISRAEL GUTTMAN
Jerusalem

Sir, – US President Barack Obama is making former president Jimmy Carter look like he was president of the Zionist Organization of America.

Obama has long sought to break the bond between the American people and the State of Israel. Now, in his second term and having nothing to lose but a few rounds of golf, he is going on the offensive. Witness that little FAA flight ban, which crippled travel to Israel at the height of its tourist season.

Mid-term elections are coming.

Hopefully, the wise will rise and bring a majority to the Senate and House. This is the only way that Americans can bring back the respect the US took so many years to cultivate.

JONATHAN SURASKY
Ra’anana

Sir, – When President Obama and the leaders of other countries urge us to stop the air strikes so as to avoid more civilian casualties, it is no use asking them what they would do if they were being bombarded with rockets from a neighboring country. This is because those countries do not use their civilians as human shields.

Instead, ask them directly: “What would you do if you were the prime minister of Israel, knowing that Gaza fires rockets at you while using its civilians as human shields? Nor do these countries have neighbors that build tunnels exiting into their territory and then heartlessly murder entire families, including babies, in cold blood. Tell them that if they can give us some good advice on how to deal with these problems and still keep our civilians safe, we will surely consider it.

It would be interesting to hear their solution – if they have one!

MARY POPPER
Herzliya

Sir, – Apropos Herb Keinon’s mordant analysis of the US secretary of state’s diplomatic bungling (“Kerry’s unique artistry,” July 28), I could not help recalling a phrase in the first Biblical admonition: “If you remain hostile toward Me” (Leviticus 26:21). The operative word in Hebrew is keri, meaning both “hostile” and “willfully defiant,” and it recurs in verses 23-24 and 27-28.

Perhaps it is no accident that John Kerry’s name should be reflected in this ominous context during the week before Tisha Be’av, at a time the US administration seems hell-bent on rescuing Hamas from a quagmire of its own making.

GABRIEL A. SIVAN
Jerusalem

Sir, – The ultimate tragedy with Gaza is that Israel prefers what it considers to be the lesser of two evils – periodic obliteration of scores of innocent Palestinian lives – rather than the Saudi peace plan or the Geneva plan and ending settlement expansion and the occupation. In short, peace through a viable two-state solution.

Secretary of State John Kerry is trying to work for this but he was contemptuously sent packing.

For Israel the war in Gaza won’t work, just as it didn’t in Lebanon in 1982 and as it didn’t for the US in Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam. One wonders how after weeks of bombing and so many Gazan dead there is still any war. Conventional power doesn’t work in guerrilla warfare; only political solutions work.

All deaths are tragedies, including those of the young, innocent Israeli soldiers who sacrificed all because were forced to go in, and Gaza’s Third World brown people, whose deaths have continued to skyrocket ever higher. I hope brown lives are considered just as valuable.

As the chickens of no peace have come home to roost, may Israel not treat Kerry any longer with contempt and may God grant that there be peace.

JAMES ADLER
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Sir, – Please stop with the cease-fires that are respected only by Israel. True peace will not come through negotiations with the Arabs – they always find loopholes and justifications for their actions. Real peace will come when the Arabs are too terrified to start up with the IDF.

A strong army and a strong government that is not afraid to show its muscle will bring quiet to the region.

We have already experienced the fruits of the Oslo Accords, which gave two Israeli leaders Nobel Peace Prizes. A great prime minister will shun that prize for a strong army that deters Israel’s enemies.

BETH BRIGHTERMAN
Syracuse, New York

Sir, – The US had the moral right to strike back at Japan in response to a cowardly, unprovoked attack on its property. But in Hiroshima and Nagasaki there were hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians. Was that proportional? England, in response to an attack not only on its own country, but in support of an ally, oversaw the flattening of cities such as Dresden, Leipzig and Berlin, with the concomitant loss of hundreds of thousands of civilian lives. Was that proportional? The hundreds of thousands of non-combatant civilians, including women and children, who have been and still are being killed in Syria, Somalia, Congo Iraq and elsewhere, have not occasioned the necessity of calling for UN meetings or war crimes inquiries. But Israel is the target of approbation when hundreds – not thousands or hundreds of thousands – of Palestinians are killed because they were blatantly used as human shields.

Alice in Wonderland is more easily understood than these attitudes.

COLIN G.B. FRANKEL
Netanya

Sir, – US pressure on Israel to “show restraint,” and Israel’s buckling to that pressure, is at least partially responsible for the current situation in Gaza.

The blood of our dead is on the hands of the American leaders who pressured Israel to risk its soldiers and civilians in order to minimize the casualties of our sworn enemies. Perhaps it’s also on the hands of our own leaders.

PHIL CHERNOFSKY
Jerusalem

Sir, – Cease fires come and go.

The solution that people are afraid to propose is the dreaded phrase “regime change.”

Get rid of Hamas. Recognize the radical Islamist threat and cut it off. Give the people of Gaza a chance to live under a government that cares for them more than it uses them.

MATT SCHEIN
Jerusalem

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