letters to the editor 88.
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Sir, - I would like to suggest that Abraham J. Bonowitz of New Jersey do his arithmetic ("No defense," Letters, July 26). If the Israel Air Force had been ordered to destroy 10 multi-story buildings in Beirut in response to every rocket fired on Haifa, Beirut would not exist today.
Sheathe the knives
Sir, - We whose sons are fighting this war are aware of the price we may pay to protect our nation ("The trauma of the body count," July 25). We sleep less and pray more - that our soldier children will return alive and whole.
But for the sake of our nation let us, for now, keep our fears and our tears private. Israel's media should not carry heart-wrenching stories of each soldier killed in battle. They would better serve the country by not sticking knives into our already strained nervous system.
Sir, - Anshel Pfeffer's "What kind of price to exact from Hizbullah" (July 25) struck a painful nerve. The first lesson the government must absorb: "Warfare is not Wimbeldon."
While the enemy willingly sacrifices its own women and children in order to kill Jews, we sacrifice our children to protect theirs in combat.
Warfare isn't fair play. Battle requires the total destruction of enemy forces. Bint Jbail should have been taken care of before the troops were sent in.
Sir, - Israel is avoiding a full-scale attack in Lebanon in order to spare civilian casualties among the Shi'ite Muslim community, which overwhelmingly adheres to Hizbullah. In the meantime, Israel's civilians are succumbing to missiles coming indiscriminately from Hizbullah.
Islamic lives seem to mean more to Israelis than Jewish lives... a strange paradigm.
Sir, - Listening to Sky News and some of our own media we learn that there is a "humanitarian crisis" developing in Lebanon, as well as in Gaza. We are also told that the Red Cross, the EU and others are arranging for supplies to alleviate these "humanitarian crises" ("Israel emphasizes its target is Hizbullah, not Lebanese people," July 21).
What about the humanitarian crisis in Israel because of Palestinians and Lebanese terrorists? In Gaza the terrorists are in the government and in Lebanon they are part of the government coalition, yet only Israel is blamed for a disproportionate response.
Sir, - Andrea Levin's "Be flippant, and never mind the facts" (July 26) misses the point. Does Levin also write articles about how Al-Jazeera ignores facts and supports terrorists?
Al-Jazeera is Arabic-owned, and no one expects it to behave any differently. But why, after all these years of listening to the BBC, and reading Trevor Asserson's reports about the BBC, does anyone expect al-BBC to be any different than Al-Jazeera?
Sir, - As a Spanish national working in New York, I was greatly distressed by recent declarations from Spanish government and Socialist party officials insinuating that civilian deaths in Lebanon were not "collateral damage" but rather a conscious objective of the Israeli government.
Although my government refuses to disavow such statements, I would like to assure your readers that many of us in Spain cannot understand this gratuitous anti-Semitic rhetoric.
JESUS DE RAMON-LACA
Sir, - The photo of young Israeli children writing "With Love from Israel" on bombs being prepared for delivery was horrifying ("On-line war chatter focuses on controversial graffiti by Israeli youngsters," July 24).
In Germany during World War II, children painted the swastika on German bombs, shouting "Heil Hitler!"
Sir, - The people of Lebanon elected their government just like the Germans elected the Nazi Party. The Germans suffered the consequences of their choice, and the Lebanese must suffer the consequences of theirs.
Sir, - When the UK was attacked during World War II by V1 and V2 rockets, the Royal Air Force bombed major German cities relentlessly. It ill behooves the UK Minister of State for the Middle East at the Foreign Office Kim Howells to criticize IDF tactics when suicide bombers have been murdering our citizens in cold blood.
He should save his criticism for the people of Lebanon, who permitted Hizbullah to occupy the area in the first place, as well as the UN Security Council, which turned a blind eye as Hizbullah armed itself to the teeth.
COLIN L. LECI
...of the past
Sir, - I was shocked to read "No prizes for Hizbullah" (Editorial, July 26) that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had taken the Hizbullah proposal for the return of Shaba Farms seriously. She obviously has not learned from recent events to beware of jihadis bearing gifts, especially in exchange for border adjustments.
Sir, - President Bush is urging Israel to preserve the fragile government of Lebanon, which was recently chosen in democratic elections supported by Bush himself. But Israel should do exactly the opposite.
The terrorist Hizbullah, sponsored by Iran, is part of that government. Twenty-three of Hizbullah's members were elected to it, and two of its members are in the cabinet.
A government that tolerates the operations of a terror group within its country, that does nothing to stop it from launching rockets at its neighbor's cities, and that further allows its presence in the parliament and cabinet, has no legitimacy at all.
If the Lebanese are ever to have a legitimate government and lasting peace with Israel, they will have to show that they, like Israel, will not tolerate Hizbullah any longer ("No prizes for Hizbullah," July 26).
Ayn Rand Institute
Sir, - The proposed NATO mission to man the Lebanese-Israeli border will not accomplish much even if it has teeth. The newer missiles already showing up have a range such that they can be fired at Israeli targets from Hizbullah positions north of the NATO troops' southern border buffer position, while Syria and Iran can continue with impunity to rearm Hizbullah in the north.
The NATO troops must be stationed on the Lebanese-Syrian border to interdict any missile resupply effort by the Syrians and Iranians ("Olmert mulls int'l force on Lebanese-Syrian border, July 24). Any NATO troops merely on the southern border of Lebanon are doomed to failure.
A safer world
Sir, - We live in a strange world where, on a Monday, we Americans say that we need to eliminate terrorism; and on a Tuesday that we want to set up a situation where, "given the right conditions," we ask another nation to cease hostilities against a terrorist organization ("Rice hoping to pave way for cease-fire," July 25). Hizbullah is a surrogate for Syria and Iran, who want to destabilize the entire region.
Instead of asking for a cease-fire, we should be giving significant material and ethical support to Israel. If it can defeat Hizbullah and Hamas, other groups will get the message, and we will have a safer world.
Call for disunity
Sir, - In the midst of the two-front war Israel is presently engaged in, the need for absolute national unity should be self-evident.
Given that, I would expect our prime minister to postpone all divisive and confrontational issues. Instead, he chose to inform the evacuees of Gush Katif: "More settlements will be evacuated" (July 26).
I cannot envision a clearer call for disunity than this statement made to the hundreds of families whose lives were shattered several months before the onset of the present hostilities.
Sir, - P. Berman should know there is another side to his story about Arab pharmacists (Letters, July 25). When I first began working in pharmacy here 23 years ago, I became good friends with an Arab colleague. One evening, over a cup of coffee, he said he wanted to give me a warning. Lowering his voice, he said, "One day, when the Israelis become weak and tired, we shall throw them into the sea."
I have never forgotten this incident, and our Arab enemies have never given up on this promise.
DAVID S. ADDLEMAN
Give them a break
Sir, - With tourists cancelling and hotels half or completely empty, why not offer those who need a break from the bombs and shelters hotel rooms - subsidized by the government? ("The home front," July 24.)
Also, the government should declare a national emergency and prevent banks in the North and South from charging interest on overdrafts and loans for those affected by the war.