letters to the editor 88.
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Sir, - Thank you for publishing Gil Hoffman's excellent coverage of the PR fiasco surrounding the Kafr Kana crisis ("Israel's delay in screening Kana footage causes PR disaster," July 31).
The article highlights the distinct difference between Israel's long-term goals for peace and Hizbullah's desire for violence. Israel seeks to protect life, both in the present and the long-term future.
While Hizbullah stockpiles missiles and rockets for war, Israel has built up the north of the country through economic development. Hizbullah revels in death and destruction, while the IDF drops leaflets warning Lebanese civilians of imminent danger. The IDF censor must protect its soldiers.
Thank you for your excellent reporting. It continues to strengthen us even as it clarifies the horrors around us.
Boca Raton, Florida
Sir, - One definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly, each time expecting a different result.
Israel's pathetic pleading with the UN and loss of the PR war may be worthy of that definition. Israel keeps trying to take the high road, with the same results each time: The world continues to see Jews as the aggressors. There can be no high ground in a war with terrorists.
Plea from Canada
Sir, - Please stop the bombing. I can't believe that the kidnapped Israeli soldiers would want these acts of war committed in their names. Someone has to take the high road. Don't make civilians pay with their lives just because Hizbullah hides among them.
Isn't Israel tired of the killing yet? It doesn't matter that the IDF didn't start this war. Someone has to stop it.
Sir, - I am sick and tired of Israel being blamed for what happened in Kafr Kana. Who put the rocket launchers in the civilian population in the first place? Hizbullah did.
Israel warned all the civilians to evacuate the area. Who kept the women and children from leaving? Hizbullah.
I am sorry for the loss of innocent lives, but what about the loss of innocent Israeli lives? What about the lives of the families of the kidnapped soldiers? We must place the blame where it belongs: on the shoulders of the terrorists.
Sir, - While we all condemn the tragic loss of life at Kafr Kana, let us not forget the tragic losses of life Israel has experienced in the past few years. Where was the outrage from the international community then? Hizbullah puts their children to sleep with rockets as their bedfellows, while our children go to sleep saying the Shema.
Tactics for victory
Sir, - Bumper stickers across Israel confidently proclaim the words: "We will win!" But what if Hizbullah has already have won this war? ("The turning point?" July 31).
In our ever-readiness to defend our beloved land, we have bravely ridden out with guns blazing. In so doing, we have displayed all the tactical mastery of a bull facing a red flag. Hizbullah's rockets are deadly indeed, but they could never have posed an existential threat to Israel. However, by manipulating our acute sense of self-preservation, Hizbullah has succeeded in uniting Lebanon, the Arab world and the rest of the international community in collective condemnation against us.
Three weeks ago Lebanon was a fledgling democracy in the Middle East. Today it has firmly joined ranks with Syria and Iran. Hizbullah may well be congratulating itself on a job well done. We would do better next time to think before we react.
...so you shall reap
Sir, -The letter from Jan Howard in Australia expressing support for Hizbullah would be amusing if it weren't so tragic - for Australia, and for other countries where people are so smugly confident that they are immune from the threat of Islamic terrorism. As the attacks in the US and Europe should have made obvious by now, they aren't ("As you sow...," July 31).
Sir, - Jan Howard wrote that Israel looks "like a nation of murderers." Hizbullah wants us to be perceived in exactly that light. By firing Katyushas from populated places, and then not allowing their own people to leave those areas, it strives to create situations in which Israel can be vilified.
Yet Israel gives warning before an attack in order to empty Hizbullah arsenal nests of innocent civilians. Does any other army in the world weaken its own attack advantage to save civilian lives on the other side? Israel "sows" with utter morality - to protect others as well as its own land and people.
May the people of the world who see the Jews as so expendable never know of terrorists on their borders and in their cities. May they soon understand that Israel is fighting the world's fight against terrorism - or they will soon learn the bitter lesson. May we finally reap the joy of being able to live normal lives in our own land, without being attacked, killed or abducted from it.
Sir, - Alan Dershowitz is absolutely right that it would be "wise and moral" for the Lebanese army not to support Hizbullah terrorists ("What if Lebanon's army joins Hizbullah?" July 30). However, it is important to remember that Lebanon's government - even if it was elected by an imperfect system - firmly opposes President Emile Lahoud and the generals who support him. An abusive constitutional amendment imposed by Syria to extend Lahoud's term in office triggered the struggle leading to former prime minister Rafik Hariri's death. Lahoud, a puppet of Syria, has always been fully complicit in Iranian and Syrian-backed terrorism. His former ally, the late Elie Hobeika, orchestrated the massacre of Palestinians at Sabra and Shatilla, which many have tried to blame on Ariel Sharon.
Before Hariri's murder, Bashar Assad reportedly told Hariri that "Lahoud is Syria," and threatened to kill him. What is clear is that Lahoud's Syrian patrons have been responsible for the deaths of far more Lebanese than those caused by the fighting with Israel.
>MICHAEL J. SZANTO
Abbas and Hamas
Sir, - President Mahmoud Abbas communicates fairly well with the Israeli government and is aware of the reason behind recent Israeli aggression ("The Palestinian Authority is trying to win Arab backing for the deployment of an international force along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel," August 1). The heart of the problem is not Israel, but Abbas's difficulties communicating with the Hamas government. This is an internal conflict that he should share with the media to gain public support.
Sir, - In the headlines section of your Web site, I saw the following: "Palestinian teenager killed in Beit Hanun" (July 31).
I was curious - was the teenager 13? 14? 15? I looked at the article and saw "a 17-year-old Palestinian youth..." 17? That's almost the age at which our children are drafted into the army. Why, when an 18 or 19 year old Israeli soldier is killed, do the headlines not scream "Israeli teenager killed?"