February 5: Standing up for...

What were the years of Hamas shelling about, not demonizing? Did any of these NGOs stand up loud and clear to attack Hamas?

Standing up for...
Sir, – Regarding Ray Hanania’s “Criticize, yes. Demonize, no” (February 4) – what were the years of Hamas shelling about, not demonizing? Did any of these NGOs stand up loud and clear to attack Hamas? Or the UN, for allowing this “demonization” to go on? Perhaps if those NGOs had campaigned against the shelling, the war would not have happened.
... ourselves
Sir, – Imagine that, the IDF put its enemy at risk in order to protect its own soldiers (“‘IDF risked civilians to save soldiers,’” Online Edition, February 3)! Now which country in the history of the world did it the other way?
Where is it written that Israel must die for the sins of its enemies? If you are not for yourselves, who will be for you?
ABE KRIEGER Highland Park, NJ
A tree grows in Israel
Sir, – Prime Minister Netanyahu made a statement that went round the world when he planted a tree in Ariel on Tu Bishvat (“Netanyahu plants a tree in Ariel, pledges to keep settlement blocs,” January 31). He stated in no uncertain terms that Israel would remain the land of growth and the future.
He also stated that Israel was the country that included Judea and Samaria as an integral part of its land. However, he has constantly emphasized that Israel is ready to negotiate arrangements with the Palestinians – who have constantly refused to negotiate unless Israel is handed over to them on their terms.
No country can or should be made to give in to such blackmail. Netanyahu has been able to state that Israel is a unique country with values that other countries might emulate. By planting a symbolic tree in Ariel he reinforced the idyllic emphasis on the Land of Israel, its environment and the positive aspects of growth in this country.
Sir, – On February 2, more than 3,000 children from throughout the country converged on Efrat to plant trees for Tu Bishvat. It was awesome! However, I was somewhat appalled that not a single TV station or newspaper covered this event. Start building a house in Efrat, and the paparazzi come out in force. Host thousands of sapling-carrying children, and nothing happens.
School supplies in Gaza
Sir, – Hamas has cleared itself of war crimes in an investigation as transparent and independent as mud (“Hamas document to UN: We didn’t target Israeli civilians with rockets,” January 28).
Of course, firing Kassams indiscriminately is not a war crime, Hamas asserts; “We were just aiming at soldiers.” How many soldiers were in Sderot, bombarded by hundreds of rockets, mortars and Kassams during the war, and thousands the decade before?
Kassams have no guidance system, Hamas admits, explaining why missiles repeatedly hit civilian areas, declining all responsibility for their actions – while I, a “good Jewish girl,” am delivering school supplies to the children of Gaza, perhaps even to children of some who fired Kassams and terrorized the children of Sderot for so long.
May my meager delivery of school supplies be used to teach the children the wisdom and humanity that many of their parents lack. May the teachers be empowered to help the children make wiser, more humane decisions for themselves, for their children, and for ours – in Gaza, in Sderot and across the entire Middle East. Our future is in their hands, and our choices and deeds will shape that future. May this first deposit of 300,000 pencils lead to a better future for us all.
JUDY BAMBERGERO’Connor, Australia