Sir, – With regard to “Hamas rockets reach Jerusalem and Tel Aviv” (July 9), this feeling of “been there, done that – and even got the T shirt” is wearing very thin! I have resided in Jerusalem since 1960. I have lived through many wars, skirmishes, intifadas, suicide bombers, booby-trapped toys scattered in the street, the possibility of being gassed. You name it, I have been there and it was not pleasant.
I took it all in stride and did not really get scared, lived through it and functioned, worked and smiled. When it was me it was fine. When it was my children I was more or less in control of them, but less fine. To have to watch this all over again with my innocent grandchildren, it is different, so different.
I watch with such pleasure how my children are raising their children and I am in awe.
They are bringing up such well-adjusted, caring, loving, gentle people. Now these little ones are finding themselves in shelters, as were we all those many times in the past, and they don’t understand what is happening.
It is this that is impossible for me to accept. That this nightmare never ends. That all my friends abroad seem to be living more or less normal lives and we are sitting in shelters being bombed. Fifty-four years on and little has changed. I, who am never envious of anyone, am envious today of them.
Just as an anecdote, my daughter is renovating her house in the Tel Aviv area.
During a Red Alert, she found herself sitting in her shelter together with her husband, children and four Arab workers from Nablus. Surreal.
Sir, – The incessant rocket attacks from Gaza are wholly unacceptable and our feeble responses are even more alarming.
Under these circumstances I have a suggestion that could be effective.
We should have an automatic retaliatory response to any rocket or mortar fire emanating from that region. Clearly, we know pretty accurately the location from which each missile is launched, and there should be weaponry in place that obliterates the immediate area. No questions asked, no hesitations, no cabinet debate.
This policy should be announced to the world in advance, and then implemented.
Sir, – Our prime minister says he will act firmly should Iran cross the “red line.” We are waiting to hear about the red line for Hamas.
Sir, – Abba Eban once so poignantly said that “the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”
Following the murder of a young Arab boy, apparently at the hands of Israelis, Israel lost the moral high ground. However Hamas, clearly with the acquiescence of its new partner, the Palestinian Authority, could not accept the strange moral authority now bestowed on it, so in order to demonstrate this to the world it immediately launched blistering rocket attacks on Israel.
What on earth are the leaders of Hamas and their partners thinking? Surely they are not that stupid! They know that Israel will retaliate. They know that such retaliation will bring havoc, misery and death to families in Gaza.
I urge reasonable Arabs in Gaza (there must be some) to wake up. Look over the security barrier and see how your neighbor flourishes while you flounder.
You do not face disaster because of occupation. You face disaster because your leaders believe in suicide bombings and self-defeating rocket attacks and are blind to the benefits and bountiful blessings that will be your inheritance if you recognize Israel and partner with it to raise your children and future generations in peace.
Will your leaders once again miss an opportunity and condemn you to a life of abject sadness and destruction in an abyss of disaster from which there is no return? ARNOLD EPSTEIN Herzliya Pituah Sir, – The other day, a reader wrote to the UK newspaper Daily Mail and complained that Hamas combatants should be referred to as “freedom fighters,” not “insurgents.” This raises the question of whose freedom these people are fighting for.
As militant Muslims, they are certainly not fighting for the rights of women or homosexuals, nor for the right of freedom of religion, rights that the so-called Zionist entity takes for granted. Neither are they fighting for the human rights of Gaza’s civilians, whose homes and hospitals they hide in and store their weapons in so as to attack Israeli civilians – an act that, I wish to remind us all, is in contravention of the Geneva Convention.
The only freedom I can see that they are fighting for is freedom for a few bullying clerics and thugs to make the lives of the average Arab even more miserable than they are now.
No other country would show Israel’s patience in dealing with this incessant problem. We gave Gaza back and look where it got us. Israel has offered the Arabs most of what they’ve asked for in a peace settlement, but they want all or nothing. Israel is also providing material and financial aid to Gaza. Which other country would try to help someone who has sworn to kill its citizens? It is the Palestinians’ good luck that they are not in conflict with the Russians or the Chinese, who have their own way of dealing with annoyances such as this. I assure you, all the bleeding hearts wouldn’t utter a squeak of protest. It’s only when Jews defend themselves that the world gets angry. Wonder why? We should not give away the phrase “freedom” too liberally.
It should be earned by people who are genuinely looking to fight for the basic human rights of freedom of choice and freedom of religion.
Sir, – I am a 94-year-old reader of The Jerusalem Post who lived in London during the blitz. I strongly advise the introduction of an all-clear signal so people can relax and get on with life until the next Red Alert. It reduces most of the stress and brings relief.
Sir, – Could not the Israeli leadership have thought up a more imaginative – and meaningful – name for the current military operation? Protective Edge means little to most Israelis and even less, I imagine, to people living abroad.
Far more effective would have been Operation Stop Their Rockets and Protect Our People.
Another opportunity lost.
Sir, – In view of the past weeks of tragic crisis and violence between Palestinians and Israelis, it seems to me that once, hopefully, the situation will quiet down, it would be most helpful and constructive to establish a higher Arab-Jewish council in Israel.
The council could consist of community leaders, leading intellectuals and spiritual leaders on both sides to amicably and rationally thrash out problems and work out solutions that break down decades-old barriers of mistrust and prejudice. It could open new horizons of cooperation, goodwill and understanding between Arabs and Jews, Palestinians and Israelis, and in general impact beneficially on Israel-Arab and Israel- world relations.
Such a step could in some small measure help to make up for the horrific loss of four innocent and beautiful young lives.
CLARIFICATION The main photograph on the front page of the July 9 Jerusalem Post was taken by Nati Shohat of Flash90.