August 3: Readers from abroad speak up about Gaza

Hamas, backed by Iran, is explicitly committed to the destruction of Israel – the freest country in the Middle East – and has relentlessly been attacking it.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Sir, – The primary function of a legitimate government is to protect the individual rights of its citizens, including by militarily destroying foreign attackers and their supporters in a manner that minimizes domestic harm and maximizes long-term peace.
Reactions to the Hamas-Israel war have revealed widespread moral bankruptcy in the West’s understanding of this, primarily in its mainstream media.
Hamas, backed by Iran, is explicitly committed to the destruction of Israel – the freest country in the Middle East – and has relentlessly been attacking it.
Israel thus has a moral obligation to neutralize the attackers and their supporters in a manner that minimizes physical harm to Israelis.
Any collateral damage should be blamed on Hamas and its supporters.
The media and predominantly leftist intellectuals deserve moral condemnation for evading the issue of who is morally guilty in this war and focusing solely on how many died on each side and who is stronger militarily.
The only thing the government of Israel deserves moral condemnation for is sacrificing the lives of its soldiers to appease those in the West who are morally bankrupt.
Sir, – I have fully and wholeheartedly supported Israel’s action against Hamas up to now, and I salute the bravery of your soldiers and their families. But I strongly believe that now is the time to stop, primarily for humanitarian reasons.
You should hand Hamas its “victory” by declaring a unilateral cease-fire (without giving in to its outrageous conditions). You should continue to retaliate for each rocket attack on a one-forone basis, but no more.
I reject arguments of proportionality often leveled against Israel, but at this point even its most fervent supporters have to say that there have been too many deaths on the Palestinian side to justify continuing the operation.
Sir, – I wish to send to the Israeli people my and many friends’ clear support in these hard times. It’s unbelievable the way some of the media in Portugal describe and comment about what is going on in Gaza.
Of course, I regret all casualties on both sides, but it’s clear that we are facing a fierce terrorist organization. Your success in fighting Hamas means our safety in Europe.
Sir, – I hear that the vast majority of the public in Israel is in favor of the onslaught on Gaza. I hope it makes the nation feel very proud and satisfied that you have managed to kill well over a thousand of your and my fellow human beings.
Let’s hope that your consciences will let you sleep at night when you are as old as me, or will the dark nights pass in sweaty wakefulness, your brains filled with the cries of terror and pain that you seem to consider a price worth paying? BERNARD BURTON Wokingham, UK Sir, – I am in awe of Israel’s restraint. I perceive it has rightly assessed the situation, that there are Palestinians in Gaza who would live in peace with it if only the radicals would allow them to.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s handling of events is impressive. He is a credit to Israel and I especially enjoy his expert messaging of the crisis. Too bad we don’t have a similar man of impeccable resolve leading the US.
I commend also Israel’s restraint about my own government, whose policy is suspect vis a vis Israel. Don’t give it any excuses for its keep-to-the-high-road attitude.
The incompetent John Kerry likely believed his proposal was sound – an idiot, to be sure. But it does Israel no good to point that out. Leave it to the pundits instead.
Hemet, California
Sir, – I am 71 and have spent my entire life with deep sympathy and empathy for the Jewish people for the horrors they suffered during and as a result of the Nazi period in Germany.
Now I witness the present government and people of Israel witnessing this horror in Gaza and for the most part doing nothing for their Arab brothers and sisters there – in fact, not only doing nothing but often condoning what is being done and urging the government to do more.
The Israeli forces in Gaza might stop the rockets and close the tunnels. But it could well be a Pyrrhic victory because the hearts and minds of decent Palestinian people will become progressively lost in the process.
History shows clearly that it is only from communication and respectful dialogue that progress can be made toward the goal of true peace.
History will condemn what is happening in Gaza now. Respect will be given only to those within and outside Israel who raise their voices against it. Would this not be the time to establish a historical landmark and extend mercy to the people of Gaza? With the wish for peace between the Jewish and Arab people.
Rathdrum, Ireland
Sir, – In the global war of public opinion, Israel could improve its standing immeasurably by proposing a humanitarian ceasefire that would allow thousands of Palestinian women, children and men over 50 to be transported to relatives and friends in the West Bank for temporary refuge.
US or UN security personnel could work with the IDF to screen refugees and assure their safe conduct.
Such a proposal would demonstrate through concrete actions Israel’s commitment to minimizing civilian casualties as the IDF expands operations across Gaza. Should Hamas reject the proposal, it would prove beyond a doubt that it has no interest in protecting the safety of the civilians under its control.
Sir, – The rockets continue to fly. The deaths of hundreds of innocent Palestinian children and civilians dishonors the very fabric of Israel. The use of schools, hospitals, UN shelters and family homes as shields for weapons reveals the decrepit morals of Hamas. All so familiar. Can anyone support this as a permanent way of life? Palestinians want the same things as Israelis. They need ports and airports, universities, schools, hospitals and an end to corruption. They are human beings who need and deserve to have hope. The people of Israel must be guaranteed safety and freedom from rocket and other terror attacks – not just until the next time but permanently.
This would ensure that there is acceptance for lifting the blockade of Gaza, which forces poverty on Palestinians.
There must be a permanent international force to prevent, locate and destroy tunnels in Gaza to block the smuggling of weapons and armed attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians.
Such a force must collect and search for all weapons that can be used to terrorize people in Israel. Israel is right to insist on demilitarization; no solution exists without that. The same force must also protect the Palestinians.
Why should Gaza hand over weapons and tunnels? Is this even possible? Yes. It happened in Northern Ireland and it has happened elsewhere, but it required actually talking to representatives of the armed groups, even if indirectly. There is no other way.
Israel must not be permitted to dictate who should represent the Palestinian people in any negotiations. There is no place for such ridiculous righteousness.
But the Palestinians must have leaders who are respected and able to show the way along a difficult and dangerous path.
Let’s be practical, there is no other way forward. Suck it up, the sooner the better.
St. John’s, Canada