letters to the editor 88.
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Sir, - My family and I were overjoyed when our president spoke in defense of Israel's right to defend itself against Hizbullah and terrorism ("Bush blames flareup on Hizbullah," July 16). We are praying for the safety of all Israelis, and for wisdom in finding the leaders of Hizbullah quickly.
Sir, - The Hizbullah Israel has been trying to destroy, and toward whose destruction Secretary Condoleezza Rice has asked Israel to show "restraint," is the same Hizbullah that in 1983 killed 241 American servicemen and blew up the US embassy in Beirut, killing 67.
People make mistakes. So do governments. Occasionally, governments repeat those mistakes.
But to do so even after 9/11 and 7/7, after Bali, after Hamas's electoral victory, and after the kidnappings by Hamas and Hizbullah seems to be a prerogative reserved only for politicians ("Correct the damage," Editorial, July 16).
Sir, - I have long admired the restraint Israel has demonstrated vis-a-vis the Arab community as a whole. I am amazed at how much restraint continues to be shown; if only they knew.
L. MARK THOMASSON
Sir, - There is a serious risk that the latest dramatic episodes between the Islamic fundamentalist Hizbullah and the State of Israel will degenerate into a conflict with international repercussions ("'Barbaric aggression' slammed by Lebanon; Israel: We had to respond to unprovoked attack," July 16).
One must condemn Hizbullah for crossing the border last week and capturing two Israeli soldiers.
However, Israel's military reprisals must equally be considered wrong. A state's right to self-defense does not exempt it from respecting the norms of international law, especially as regards the protection of civilian populations.
Lebanon is a free and sovereign nation. It appears obvious that the only path worthy of our civilization is that of sincere dialogue between the contending parties.
...forget about it
Sir, - The time for talking is over. Iran has showed the world what it wants, total domination by its backward version of religion. The war on terrorism has entered a new stage. Let's deal with it now.
ARTHUR VAN DER VEEN
Sir, - If the governments of Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority are unwilling to disarm the Iranian-controlled terror organizations that operate in their territories, or if they are incapable of doing so, they are not worthy of international recognition as legitimate regimes.
Sir - Israel should stop automatically considering everyone outside our borders to be the enemy.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert should immediately stop bombing our non-hostile neighbor, Lebanon, and talk to its Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, who is reasonable and a potential friend.
Let not Israel's and Lebanon's past stop us ever having peace in the future.
Sir,- Re "Sailors' bodies identified after warship strike" (On-Line Edition," July 16): Senior naval officers admitted Saturday night that they had been taken completely by surprise by the missile attack, claiming that they did not know Hizbullah possessed such advanced capabilities.
What else don't they know? Sometimes I'd prefer the press not to make everything public. I'd sleep better at night.
IDF gone soft?
Sir, - I've always had the highest respect for the IDF, but I'm afraid round one in this fight has to go to the Hiz. So far, they've ambushed and kidnapped army troops, terrorized your civilians with rockets, and nearly sunk a state-of-the-art warship.
It looks like the same political correctness that infects the US forces is at play over there ("Meeting the missile challenge," July 16).
Lord will lead you
Sir, - We are constantly praying for you all in Israel; the Lord will lead you through this present war. As an Igbo and also a Nigerian, I know what you are going through at the hands of the Islamic terrorists. Israel will stand high at the end.
Sir, - We read in this week's Haftara: "From the north shall the evil loose itself upon all the inhabitants of the Land" (Jeremiah 1:14). Even if the timing regarding current events was just a coincidence, still it was good to read a few verses further on: "And they will battle against you, but they shall not prevail over you."
JOSEPH M. SCHWARCZ
Sir, - Opinion makers who imply a direct comparison between the captured Israeli soldiers and Palestinians in Israeli jails ignore an all-important difference. The families of Palestinian prisoners in Israel know where their loved ones are. They visit them and communicate by telephone.
In contrast, the Palestinians deliberately keep the families of captives in a state of unbearable anxiety by holding their captives incommunicado.
In an exquisite refinement of torture in 1993, Yasser Arafat acknowledged that he knew the fate of missing soldier Zachary Baumel, and handed half of Baumel's identity tag to Yitzhak Rabin with a firm promise that more information about Baumel and other MIAs would be forthcoming. He never kept that promise ("Advice from a father who's been through hell," July 14).
Sir, - Don't stop until you have your soldiers back. All this "peace process" nonsense has brought nothing of value to your country, only more war and bloodshed. It is time to eliminate the terrorists in Gaza and Lebanon.
Sir, - In "Taha's talk" (Letters, July 13) Gush Shalom spokesman Adam Keller praises MK Wasal Taha for advising the "organizations struggling against Israel" not to attack civilians but only the army.
Imagine a congressman in South Korea giving advice to North Korea on how to fight South Korea.
Sound ridiculous? Treasonable?
Sir - Adam Keller should move to Gaza with all the other members of Gush Shalom, since they have no love for the the State of Israel.
Upholding the memory
Sir, - Thanks to Robert Wistrich for "Remembering Kielce" (July 3).
I am a daughter of death camp survivors. I was born in Krakow, Poland, and my parents immigrated to Israel in 1950. I have known about Kielce since early childhood because my parents' album had a photo of the long funeral held for the 42 slain Jews.
One of my father's best friends was murdered after the war after surviving the Nazi death camps. And when my parents went to the place where my father grew up to reclaim his family's home, they were chased by Poles who would surely have murdered them had they not run away and hid in a train wagon.
The Poles might have been victims of Nazism, but they were willing collaborators in the massacre of Jews before, during and after the war. And they never owned up to their crimes.
Thank you for keeping the memory alive, and thus honoring those who were murdered al kidush hashem.