December 30: What frogs do

Sam Ser was brilliant in asserting that asking Hamas not to fight Israel was like asking a "frog not to jump."

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
What frogs do Sir, - Sam Ser's "A good start... to a bad ending" (December 29) was a superb analysis. I especially appreciated that asking Hamas not to fight Israel was like asking a "frog not to jump." Your writer's grasp of the intrinsically aggressive nature of the ideology defining Hamas is compelling. Now if only more people realized that the same ideology is widely shared, in varying degrees, by many other players in the region, they would be more sympathetic to Israel's security concerns. But maybe that would be like asking a frog not to jump. DAVID KATCOFF Jericho, Vermont No need for Winograd Sir, - I must express my admiration for the way Israel seems to have learned from its mistakes in the Second Lebanon War. This time around, the diplomatic offensive has been part and parcel of the campaign rather than a sullen afterthought, and calamitous own-goals on civilian targets have been studiously avoided ("Gaza portrayed," Editorial, December 29). If we can continue along these lines and, crucially, know when to stop and convert our gains into a new, more secure status quo, we will have victory parades to look forward to instead of inquests. PAUL SANDLER Tel Aviv Sir, - It was gratifying to witness, on various media outlets, the conviction of Israeli commentators in defending Israel's current operation in Gaza. That their message will speak to wide audiences seems undeniable as they exuded a sense of relaxed confidence which augurs well for the future. RACHEL BIRATI Melbourne Sir, - If you are wondering how the latest provocations by Hamas are playing in Canada and the US, you can breathe some relief. Just about everybody here, including the media, understand that the Palestinians have been proven incapable of governing themselves and deserve whatever retaliation Israel gives them. Palestinians have precious few sympathizers in the West left to exploit. RJ PATTENAUDE Windsor, Ontario, Canada Jewish standards Sir, - Trevor Davis writes that he does not "recall too many complaints when the RAF incinerated Dresden in WW2" ("Letters, December 29). Is he suggesting Israel do the same in Gaza? There would be a world outcry if hundreds of thousands of innocent Arab civilians were burned alive - but then, I suppose, there is one already when only a few hundred Hamas operatives have been killed. Your correspondent should know that Jews are expected to behave at a much higher moral standard than any other people, let alone the Palestinian darlings of the liberal intelligentsia. MARTIN D. STERN Salford, UK Delicacy won't win faint hearts Sir, - Now that the IDF has finally been sent to do the job that should have been done a long time ago, we once again find ourselves pilloried by most of the "civilized" world for having the audacity to defend ourselves ("UN head calls for 'immediate' halt to all attacks in Gaza, Israel," December 28). Realistically, what can we expect? We had the ability to show what has been going on, and we didn't do it. We could have screamed, and we didn't. We could have broadcast pictures all over the world showing the victims of Hamas attacks, but we didn't. Hamas broadcasts pictures and voices of screaming men and women and melts hearts internationally. What did we do? We talked a little bit. We were too delicate to show anything with blood. Yet blood seems the only thing that will move the spirit. After every attack, we should have sent pictures, along with images of those who were hospitalized. Our crying children should have been both seen and heard. And people should have screamed. Delicate feelings never won faint hearts. It's time we patterned our hasbara after the work the Arabs do. There is no reason for evil to be winning hearts and minds. RHEA ISRAEL Rehovot Crocodile tears Sir, - The Gaza Strip has one of the highest population densities in the world. So how can the Hamas terrorists use this area as a base for firing rockets at Israeli villages - and then complain about casualties? The Israeli villages closest to the Gaza Strip are not heavily populated, so we usually do not hear about injured people, rather about damage to the environment, to buildings and to the psyche of citizens, mostly children. Israel finally decided, after eight years of Palestinian rockets, to retaliate and bomb the terrorists, whose leaders hide like cowards and whose operatives fire from within their own population. Is it any wonder that many are killed? ("Hamas accuses PA, Egypt of collusion with Israel," December 28.) AMOS FABIAN Ramat Gan We support you... Sir, - Every member or supporter of Hamas is by definition a terrorist, a criminal and an enemy of civilization - sufficient justification for Israel, with the strong support of its American ally, to strike forcefully and directly. Ninety-nine percent of Americans are behind you. GREG BAILEY St. Louis ...they do not Sir, - Those Israeli Arabs who are striking for their brethren in Gaza and not for their fellow-citizens in Sderot should, seeing they have such high principles, refuse to accept the amenities of our national health service and the countless other handouts they make very good use of ("Israeli Arabs declare general strike," December 29). MARTIN LEWIS Ramat Gan How will we know that Hamas has lost? Sir, - It is not too soon to ask: How, in the end, will we, Hamas and the world know that Hamas has lost? Not by the loss of its people - in Hamas's eyes, they can be replaced. Not by the loss of its military infrastructure and equipment - that, too, can be replaced. Not by another "cease-fire," even on favorable terms to Israel; it can again be violated. Hamas will have lost only when it loses some important territory from "the Domain of Islam" now under its control - namely, the abandoned Philadelphi Corridor on the international border with Egypt. Israel's retaking such a lightly populated territory would be necessary and sufficient for Hamas to be branded the loser by the world in general, and the Islamic world in particular. Hamas's particular strategy for the destruction of Israel will have been discredited; effective Israeli deterrence will start to be respected in our area, and likely even as far afield as Iran. Israel would finally be on the winning side of the psychological war. These noble war objectives could raise Israel to a new paradigm, way beyond the important issue of crippling the expanded Hamas tunnel network from Egypt ("40 Gaza tunnels bombed as IDF masses troops on border," December 29). AARON BASHANI Jerusalem Eye-opener for India Sir, - Re "A year's intelligence gathering yields 'alpha hits' on bases, missile sites, HQs" (December 28): Your operation in Gaza is another feather in the cap of the IDF and the Shin Bet. This is a classic lesson, an eye-opener for India, which has been ultra-tolerant toward Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. RAKESH DUDDY Kurukshetra, India