Eloquent editorial Sir, - Your editorial "Israel goes it alone" (January 12) was very eloquent and echoed many of my sentiments. I support Israel and I am saddened to see the damage Hamas has done to both Israelis and Palestinians. I know that Israel has gone through much sorrow since it became a nation in 1948. Be assured that The New York Times and the AP do not represent my view of the current crisis. Your nation has "gone it alone" for some time now. I am only one person with no power or position to change your plight; but I will pray for your nation, continue to write letters to the press and appeal to my government representatives to support Israel with more than words. MARCIA BRUNELLI Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania Sir, - Your editorial said: "Unless Hamas is defanged, the prospect that relative moderates among the Palestinians, led by Mahmoud Abbas, will be emboldened to strike a deal with Israel is - nil." I would go one step further and say that unless Iran is defanged, there is absolutely no hope for peace in the region. If Israel evacuates any territory, Iran will end up with more power than it has now. Israel should not even enter discussions about two states for two peoples until Iran's terrorist tentacles are cut short. RANDI OZE Jerusalem State of affairs Sir, - Noam Bedein's "The two-state illusion: A Sderot perspective" (January 5) raised the issue of the alleged panacea of a Palestinian state. The main reason people form a state is for protection. The Jews in 1948 were very eager for a state in view of their sense of vulnerability, and therefore did not quibble over its size. The Palestinians, by contrast, are far less insecure. On the contrary, the antics from Gaza have demonstrated an arrogant bravado: the cavalier firing of rockets, the rallies mocking Gilad Schalit and the open taunting of Israel's timidity. And the PA never thinks a future Palestine is big enough. Those are hardly the actions of people who need a state for protection. The only state the Palestinians want is Israel, and that's not on the table. DAVID KATCOFF Jericho, Vermont A grave case of war crimes Sir, - Last week our public advocacy organization sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon requesting decisive action regarding a severe case of war crimes as defined by international law. We reminded him that: In recent years, and in the present ongoing military conflict, the warfare adopted by the Hamas movement has caused much suffering and heavy losses and damage both to Israel's civilian population and to the entire Gaza Strip. The Hamas regime there has fired 6,300 rockets targeting Israeli civilians. In Gaza, Hamas stores rockets and other weaponry and ammunition primarily in residential areas - houses, mosques and schools. Thousands of rocket and mortar grenade attacks have been launched from within these areas, obliging an Israeli military response which, inevitably, has led to great suffering among Gazans and damage to property. According to international law, any source of fire on civilian targets is itself a legitimate target. If that source of fire is located among civilians, it remains a legitimate target; and if that vicinity invites return fire, causing casualties among the local population, those casualties are the full and sole responsibility of the party that placed them deliberately in harm's way. In this case, Hamas is fully responsible both for the Israeli civilian casualties and for those of its own population, which it uses as a human shield. We demand that the Hamas leadership be brought to international justice without delay, and tried for the following war crimes:
firing rockets and grenades purposely at civilian targets in Israel;
firing these rockets from within Palestinian civilian compounds such as schools, and in close proximity to hospitals and residential buildings;
storing weapons and ammunition in schools, mosques, public offices and residential buildings;
regularly using its own civilians as human shields - particularly children, who are often forced to be in the most dangerous spots.
Children and minors have routinely been used by Hamas for military purposes. Hamas has also indoctrinated children and minors to murderous hatred and killing.
Hamas gunmen fight in civilian clothing or, sometimes, in stolen IDF uniforms.
Hamas fighters routinely hide among civilians in hospitals.
Hamas has not provided kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit with the most elementary rights accorded prisoners of war, not even Red Cross visits - rights Israel grants even to convicted Hamas terrorists.
The Hamas leadership has embezzled extensive aid money received for the peaceful needs of Gaza's population and used it for an enormous military build-up.
A failure to prosecute the Hamas leadership in an international court will lead to its war crimes becoming normative behavior, resulting in millions of victims of oppression undefended by the UN ("Rice joins UN session," January 7).
ENDRE Y. MOZES, Chairman
No arms for Gaza...
Sir, - Gaza must become a weapons-free zone ("IDF carving out 'security zone' to prevent rocket attacks from Gaza," January 12). There should be an embargo of all shipments into Gaza from all nations hostile to Israel. This is for the protection of all innocent people living in the area.
PAUL DAVID SWINFORD
...only peace and love
Sir, - The killing of innocent children and women in Gaza must stop. Spread peace and love awareness among the people.
How could you print this?
Sir, - As a long-term reader of the Post, I was shocked and horrified that you had given space to a letter from Mohammed Mohammed cursing the Jewish people ("Allah will punish you," January 12) when we have enough to contend with in the foreign media. Would a letter so full of hate and venom be published in any Arab media?
Sir, - I had no problem with your printing the ranting letter sent to you by Mr. Mohammed Mohammed, wherein he charged that "Jews are the worst and hateable (sic) people on the earth," though regretfully I have had to take him off my list and he will no longer be getting a slice of my birthday cake.
My first, instinctive feeling was to tell him: Your opinion of Jews has as much impact on me as a mosquito bite on someone else's behind - but actually I have something deeper to say, and it is this:
I would expect anyone whose name is Mohammed Mohammed to support the Palestinian cause irrespective of who is right and wrong. But to call all Jews hateful and criminal - not just those his Hamas "brethren" are currently fighting in Gaza but all Jews everywhere, including me here in Ra'anana, Abe Cohen in England and Morty Goodman in the States, whom he has never met and whose opinions he does not know, is just plain idiotic, not worthy of consideration.
And he lives in Sri Lanka!
JAY A. FRIEDMAN
Coming and going
Sir, - I know. There is a war going on. I also know that the US is in the midst of a severe economic crisis. I am actually aware that we Israelis are suffering less financially than our counterparts over there. Can someone inform me if that is the reason we pay the equivalent of $1.54 to send a letter to the States, while they pay only 94 cents to send one this way?