letters to the editor 88.
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Sir, - Your front-page story reporting that 25% of Hizbullah's capacity has been destroyed called to mind Israel's implacable enemy Amalek attacking without provocation (Exodus 17). Joshua engaged them in battle, but only "weakened" them. Years later, King Saul repeated the same mistake of not totally wiping Amalek out (1 Samuel 15). Israel would pay dearly for these omissions.
The parallels are glaring ("IDF wants another week to smash Hizbullah," July 17).
...and a short memory
Sir, - What a short memory some honorable and righteous European leaders have in accusing Israel of responding with disproportionate force. They have obviously forgotten the French response in Algeria or, more recently, the Russian one in Chechnya.
Our confrontation with Hamas/Hizbullah is not according to the Queensbury rules. This is war, with the Israeli army one of the most moralistic in the world.
In the face of months of continuous rocket attacks, followed by the kidnapping and killing of our soldiers which led up to this crisis, another slap on the wrist and calling these terrorists "naughty boys" will not suffice ("French PM to show solidarity in Beirut," On-Line Edition, July 17).
Sir, - Popular consensus among most critics of Israel is that it needs to be proportionate in its attacks on Hizbullah and not inflict casualties amongst the civilian population of Lebanon. Tragic as it is for innocent Lebanese civilians to die on the side of the aggressors, what about the innocent Jewish civilians slaughtered in senseless suicide bomb attacks on Israeli soil; and the random rocket attacks into Israel's northern towns, which show scant regard for civilians?
Israel needs to stand up for herself, for few will stand by her. Thank God, for He is on her side.
I am not Jewish, but I cannot recall witnessing any Jewish person ever initiating aggression. It has always been self-defense.
It's about time Israel showed the world that it will not be abused anymore.
Sir, - As I pored over various articles and updates, I kept thinking about how familiar it all sounded. Then I read "Nasrallah cornered but still dangerous" (July 17). David Horovitz hit the nail on the head.
Saddam Hussein was the exact same way. All talk. Threats. Nothing. Nasrallah sounds very scary when he speaks. He probably did expect to have large-scale Arab support by now.
To see Israel have to struggle, alone, like you are now, is frightening. It's eerie to watch this war happen. The whole world is watching, like kids crowding around a schoolyard fight.
My question is: Based on what Israeli intelligence knows of Nasrallah's personality or history, how should we expect him to react when he is desperate?
Who let the doves out?
Sir, - We have already learned the principle that only hawks can make peace: de Gaulle with Algeria, Nixon with China, Begin with Egypt, and Reagan/Bush ending the Cold War. Perhaps there is a corollary in the present situation: Only doves can make war.
To hear Peres, Peretz and Ramon speak of waging war with the determination to win it is a new experience. For the first time in decades Israeli society is united in its struggle for security and peace.
Who let the doves out? ("'We'll change the reality in Lebanon,'" July 17.)
Why I'm pessimistic
Sir, - I'm very pessimistic about the present crisis because the terrorist groups feel strong with the backing of Iran and Syria. Besides, they know they cannot lose and Israel cannot win because the world, for its own nefarious reasons, will not allow a clear Israeli victory ("Israel's 72-hour 'window,'" July 16).
The only time there was a clear and decisive victory for Israel was in 1967, in the Six Day War - because the victory came too fast for the "world" to stop it.
Stop at the start...
Sir, - We need to stop this war before it escalates into Armageddon. I understand Israel wants to get its soldiers back, but is this a logical and rational way to proceed? What happened to diplomacy and negotiation? Is this the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it?
The Israeli government has unleashed its fury on innocent civilians to satisfy its thirst for revenge. Innocent Jews, Christians and Muslims from all sides will end up paying the price in this mayhem. I urge the Israeli government to show wisdom and end this vicious cycle of violence before no one is left standing.
...meet your objectives
Sir, - As a former US military officer, I have always admired the skill and tenacity of the Israel Defense Forces. Operating under tremendous international pressure the IDF has always performed professionally and with an eye toward minimizing "collateral" damage. The current operations are no different.
In my view, Israel is not the trouble in the Middle East. Hizbullah, Hamas, al-Qaida and other radical Islam factions are the trouble, and Israel's self-defense warrants the response we are seeing today.
I hope your operations meet all their objectives, that your casualties are minimized, and that you achieve some sort of peace. As the only genuine democracy in that region you should know that many, many Americans support you wholeheartedly in your fight.
Sir, - I, for one stand, with Israel - world condemnation be damned! If there were more people in this world with a brain instead of a "liberal" outlook, the terrorist threat would have disappeared a long time ago.
My youngest son served in Iraq, and I thought that the right thing to do. And I think that what Israel is doing is the right thing to do.
Sir, - In a high-stakes game of brinksmanship it is clear the Iranians have managed, rather masterfully, to take the world's and the G-8's eye off the ball and refocus it on Israel ("Iran ready to begin nuclear negotiations," July 17).
US experts have estimated that Iran is two to four years away from manufacturing a nuclear weapon; however, Israeli intelligence suggests a much shorter time frame.
Iran is confident that no significant repercussions will come from its actions, and that a world which seems easily swayed and lulled into complacency will buy it enough time to reach "the point of no return."
Sir, - I am a Rwandan student, from a country that is known for the '94 genocide.
I want to thank the Jews who came to mourn with Rwandans during the genocide remembrance, and say to entire Israel: "We love you" and God bless.
Sir, - I feel outraged by the US media's coverage of this tragedy. I'm utterly convinced that it is not Israel's fault. I don't know why the world doesn't see it that way; I just feel sad for their ignorance and underlying racism.
I hope your country comes through almost unharmed. God is with you.
San Jos , Costa Rica
Sir, - The West does know who the enemy is. This is one American who stands with Israel. In the words of a great woman: "There will be no peace until the Arabs love their children more than they hate Israel."