Civilian deaths

Sir, – I am fed up reading and hearing that the world is blaming Israel for the deaths of women and children in Gaza (“Obama to PM: Humanitarian cease-fire is ‘imperative,’” July 28).

In World War II, when England was being bombed with V2 rockets, it bombed the smithereens out of the Germans. Did it care if there were women and children in the buildings? No. It was war. It was either Germany or England. Did the Americans care how many or whom they killed in Vietnam? No. It was war.

So please stop all this nonsense of killing women and children.

It is not what we want to do, but we are at war. It’s either them or us.

JUDY FORD
Petah Tikva

Sir, – The additional protocol to Article 37 of the Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I) of June 8, 1977, states: “It is prohibited to kill, injure or capture an adversary by resort to perfidy. Acts inviting the confidence of an adversary to lead him to believe that he is entitled to, or is obliged to accord, protection under the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, with intent to betray that confidence [e.g., (c) the feigning of civilian, non-combatant status], shall constitute perfidy.”

That and other international protocols also prohibit the illegal use of protected areas such as ambulances, hospitals and schools because breaching the laws of war removes the protected status of civilians, making enemy return fire legal even if it harms them.

Massive evidence proves that Hamas fighters use Red Crescent ambulances for transportation, as well as schools and hospitals, with their protected status, as armories and headquarters. It also shows that Hamas uses tactics that include dressing its combatants in IDF-style uniforms during attacks designed to kidnap Israeli civilians, and in civilian clothes to allow them to hide among human-shield civilians.

GARY DALIN
Modi’in

Knife up front


Sir, – I was bemused at the State Department’s disingenuous response to Israel’s reaction following Secretary of State John Kerry’s cease-fire plan (“US rejects criticism of Kerry,” July 28). Surely Mr. Kerry knows Oscar Wilde’s observation that the difference between a friend and an enemy is a friend will stab you in the front.

DANIEL PFEFFER
Modi’in

Sir, – How can the ordinary citizen respond to perfidy? Adversaries are simple – one struggles against them and perseveres. But spineless hypocrites, opportunist traitors, yellow-livered cowards and two-faced, fair-weather friends are more difficult.

I would like to see Jews and decent friends all over the world draw up lists of these pathetic people, airlines, companies and countries, categorized by their offense. Then ordinary people will know whom to boycott, whom to disdain, where and how not to travel and, when met along the path of life, whom one should avoid by moving to the other side of the road.

ANTHONY LUDER
Rosh Pina

Offends us all Sir, – Rabbi Shalom Cohen, successor to Rabbi Ovadia Yosef as spiritual leader of Shas, has demonstrated a grievous lack of sensitivity, gross ingratitude and an offensively mistaken appreciation of Jewish priorities (“Shas rabbi: Israel doesn’t need army because prayers protect it,” July 25).

At a time when tens of families are crying over the loss of that which is most dear to them, and when almost all people in Israel are united in sharing their heartbreak for fathers, sons and brothers who fell defending us from annihilation, Rabbi Cohen, instead of issuing a message of comfort and hope, chooses to make a declaration that offends us all.

When the Israelites were confronted with an attack by Amalek, Moses ordered Joshua to choose men to go out to do battle.

He did not suggest that they pray or sit and learn. As a spiritual leader, Rabbi Cohen should indeed be praying by leading prayers of thanksgiving to the Almighty for the miracles He has wrought for us through the agency of the IDF’s valiant soldiers and its brilliant technology.

ZEV CHAMUDOT

Petah Tikva

Whom is he kidding?

Sir, – In “Arabs on roofs, Jews on hills” (Comment & Features, July 24), Abed L. Azab ends by suggesting to Israel: “Talk. Do not fire.” But how do you talk to a group bent on your eradication? Can you bargain with the devil? Azab’s advice is a non-starter for Hamas. If he denies this he is denying the reality of its raison d’etre, which is to rid the Middle East – in fact, the world – of Jews.

He quotes the ill-informed model Bar Refaeli as stating: “The only good thing about war is its end.” I strongly disagree. In our part of the world the only good thing about war is that the loser understands not to mess with the side that gave him a good pounding. And pound we must. War is, in fact, necessary when you want to go on living.

If Azab were an honest broker for peace, which he clearly isn’t, he would not try to liken the terror strikes visited upon Sderot to the blockade on Gaza. Whom is he kidding? Only himself, apparently.

COOKIE SCHWAEBER-ISSAN

Jerusalem

Is he serious?

Sir, – With regard to “Identifying when a crisis can become an opportunity” (Encountering Peace, July 24), Gershon Baskin constantly bombards us with the idea that all we have to do is make peace and everything will be okay. I think it’s time he took a good look at what is really happening.

Baskin writes that if the world pours billions into Gaza it will become a paradise and the people will get rid of Hamas. But Hamas has stated that it will never give up its arms and that its goal is to destroy Israel.

And who is going to supervise the demilitarization? Baskin states that the Palestinians can do this. Is he serious? The Europeans, who were supervising the Rafah crossing and ran as soon as things started to go sour? The Americans, who did such a good job in Iraq? Let’s let the IDF continue to neutralize what is possible for another couple of weeks and afterwards maintain a presence inside the Gaza border to increase our security. We can only trust ourselves.

SHMUEL SCHWARTZ

Ra’anana

Not just the PA

Sir, – “Corruption at the head of Hamas” (Business & Finance, July 21) is one of the most important revelations regarding this group.

The people of Gaza and many others in the Arab world have always believed that the Palestinian Authority is extremely corrupt and steals millions from the people, while Hamas is free of such despicable behavior and is fully devoted to its people’s social needs. It is now revealed that the leaders of Hamas are just as guilty of major corruption and treat the people in the worst possible way.

It is to be hoped that the world media will succeed in finally bringing the truth to the knowledge of the people of Gaza and the entire Arab world that Hamas’s leaders have failed their people miserably.

What is really needed is a “Marshall Plan” under the direct control of world powers to rebuild a new, demilitarized Gaza, with all donor funds being invested in civilian infrastructure and improving quality of life, converting Gaza into a little Singapore.

DAVID GOSHEN

Kiryat Ono

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