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Sir, - Please stop the killing of innocents, especially children, in this latest trouble in Gaza ("Red Cross seeks drugs, vaccines, blood and body bags for Gaza," January 6).
Look, I know you beautiful Israelis have had a sad history, and independence has meant so much to you. I acknowledge the right to defend yourself.
But, my God, how long does the Middle East conflict have to go on? People of Israel, aren't you tired of it all ?
Here we are, with a world financial crisis to remedy, and the world is focusing on Gaza. What about the children of your grandchildren and mine? Will we not give them a safe and peaceful future?
Merrylands, NSW, Australia
Sir, - As a Christian who believes in peaceful pursuits, I still can find no fault with what the State of Israel is currently doing to defend its people and its long-term survival.
I do have real tears for the Palestinian children; yet I must place all due responsibility for those losses on the adult sector of the Hamas community, for it is these people who are entirely responsible for the current Israeli actions, and the results of those actions.
The obsession with collateral damage
Sir, - As a veteran of the Korean war who saw politics running military affairs, I see little has changed in 56 years, in Israel or the US. This obsession with limiting "civilian" casualties is causing military casualties and taking the lives of Israeli civilians.
While Hamas has no compunction about killing Israelis - adults, children and other noncombatants - the Israelis seem to obsess over collateral damage. Yet to successfully combat terrorism, you have to be as ruthless as the terrorists. Only then will the population rise up against Hamas for bringing this destruction on them ("How will it end?" Gershon Baskin, December 30).
For too long, young men have been sent out in the field to put their lives at risk by fat, self-centered politicians whose only risk is their daily cigar.
Sir, - As Liat Collins stated in her superb "At home in war and peace" (January 4), the foreign press objects to the "disproportionality" between the number of Palestinians and the number of Israelis killed. If fair play is so important, why do the foreign press never object to the disproportionality between the hundreds of Palestinian prisoners Israel releases in return for only two or three Israeli captives?
Sir, - This incursion is not about the Palestinian people, but about Hamas firing rockets into Israel. Hamas is trying to make the world think it's about the Palestinians. The UN needs to stay out of this until Hamas calls for a cease-fire. Then the UN can intervene ("Arabs seek UN resolution to stop war," January 5).
Sir, - The bias against Israel is very clear, from the EU to the UN. The Israeli government has a moral right to protect its citizens, and it should get more support from the international community since the Israelis are not the aggressors in this war ("Diplomacy expected to buy IDF 'a few more days' in Gaza," January 5).
Sir, - Sometimes I wonder: If alien starships were to attack Earth next week, would the UN and European socialists side with the extraterrestrials, declaring space probes launched from Earth in the past 30 years to have been American cosmic imperialism?
What I'd like to say
Sir - To the left-wing demonstrators against the war, I would like to say: Take your small children and elderly parents and go to Sderot for a month, a week, or even a day, and perhaps you will change your opinions.
To the Israeli Arabs shouting "Death to the Jews," I would like to say: Next time you come to hospital and are treated by a Jewish doctor, will you still be shouting the same thing? ("Over 10,000 rally in Sakhnin against 'war crimes,'" January 4).
And to Yossi Klein Halevi, I would like to say: Thank you for one of the most moving articles I have ever read ("As my son goes to war, I am fully Israeli at last," January 5).
May his son and all the other sons come home safely.
Sir, - I thoroughly enjoyed Yossi Klein Halevi's op-ed. But how about those of us in our 80s and beyond who are seeing our grandsons and granddaughters caught up in this war? We feel it just as strongly, I'm sure, as do mommies and daddies - perhaps even more, since this is the third generation having to go through a bloody war or two.
At any rate, we are keeping our fingers crossed (may Jews do that?) for the safety of our soldiers and a quick end to the conflict.
Sir, - Is MJ Rosenberg delusional? "Weren't there other ways to induce Hamas to stop the shelling?" (January 6) was a series of libels against Israel and apologetics for Hamas. If I responded point by point, I'd need a full-length article. So I'll highlight just one of his more obvious fabrications:
"Israeli lunatics - settlers who attack children and burn down olive groves - have become significant political players. In Israel, it is impossible to form a government without the crazies."
Would Mr. Rosenberg care to point out exactly which party in the current government represents these crazies? Or the previous government, or the one before that? Or the one before that?
Reach out to Hamas, Iran
Sir, - Israel must negotiate with Hamas, they are the government of Gaza. You waited way too long to talk to Yasser Arafat, don't make the same mistake now. If an international mediator needs to be brought in, let one representative from both sides attend. Should the talk be counterproductive to peace, the meeting ends.
To Hamas: You cannot be taken seriously as a government by persistently attacking your neighbor and mistreating your citizens. Israel: You need to reach out to Iran and stop vilifying the whole of that nation and seek solutions with them.
Such an overture will go a long way down the road to peace. Take the high road.
As a matter of interest
Sir, - Could you tell me, this French bloke who now wants everything to stop so he can talk you into yet another peace agreement, does he actually have a mandate from Hamas to negotiate on its behalf, or is he simply trying to say as much as possible in case there is some honor to be grabbed at a later stage? ("EU leaders arrive without concrete proposal to stop Gaza fighting," January 6)
'Ima' Suzman, R.I.P.
Sir, - I am a Kenyan living in the US who has written in support of the Jews and Israel for three decades in the Kenyan media. I am saddened by the passing on of "Ima" Helen Suzman, an icon who gallantly fought against apartheid in her adopted land of South Africa ("Veteran apartheid foe Helen Suzman dies at 91," January 2).
I wrote often praising her contribution to the struggle to eradicate that scourge of mankind in the 80s. May God rest her soul.
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