January 6: 'Baruch Hashem'

I have not heard any reporters utter the words Baruch Hashem - Thank God - regarding the relatively little loss of life in the south in spite of the heavy rocket fire.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
'Baruch Hashem' Sir, - From the time Operation Cast Lead started, I have been glued to the TV watching channels 10, 11 and 22 - and, of course, reading The Jerusalem Post. I have not heard any reporters utter the words Baruch Hashem - Thank God - regarding the relatively little loss of life in the south in spite of the heavy rocket fire. Is this not a modern-day miracle? The Almighty has covered the Jewish people with His divine umbrella. Surely it is not below our dignity to express our appreciation for this, instead of just attributing it to mazalenu - our good luck? ("It's a miracle Golani soldier is still alive, doctor says," January 5) N.E. SAMUEL Yavne Feeding frenzy Sir, - Regarding the letter from York, England, titled "You're just land-grabbers" (January 4): York was a trailblazer in medieval anti-Semitism - Jews were dropped from the bell tower of York Minster, the local cathedral in 1241-42. Judging by this reader's letter, not much has changed over the past 800 years in this former royal headquarters of elitism in terms of traditional dislike of the Jews. The honorable gentleman, your correspondent - like members of the frenzied anti-Israel mobs marching all across Britain - may have viewed too much BBC, or read too much Guardian or Independent. None of these media organs is the paragon of objective and fair-minded journalism they fool others into thinking they are. GÁBOR FRÄNKL Budapest Simply over the top... Sir, - The Israeli air assault on Gaza is akin to the Royal Air Force in Britain bombing the Republic of Ireland's border areas with Northern Ireland during The Troubles, when some operations were launched from there by the IRA or Republican splinter groups. Yet although subjected to many attacks (e.g., the bombing of Omagh in in 1998, in which 29 people were killed) Britain never did that, and wisely so. There would have been a worldwide outcry because it would have been a hugely disproportionate reaction and, of course, also an assault on another sovereign state. And, doubtless, it would have put back the chances of peace in the region perhaps for decades. Admittedly, Gaza is not a sovereign state, but it is a territory with its own democratically elected administration, albeit one Israel may not like. While Israel has every right to exist and defend itself from attack, the massive bombing of Gaza, even if it is targeted at Hamas, is over the top. Not only is Israel killing its enemies, it is killing off hope for reconciliation between Jews and Arabs and sowing the seeds of hate even deeper. Israel should realize by now it cannot win a peace by beating the Arabs into submission. The British realized that with the IRA, the Americans in Vietnam, and the Soviets in Afghanistan. Today the bombs and guns in N. Ireland have been put away, hopefully for good, thanks to constructive dialogue and compromise by all sides involved. FRANK KHAN Dublin, Ireland Sir, - To the best of my knowledge the Taliban is not in control in Afghanistan, and it isn't holding any British servicemen hostage. Yet the British fight the terrorists mercilessly, and civilian casualties since 2001 are unfortunately estimated in the tens of thousands. I wonder: What would the British government propose if 8,000 rockets were fired indiscriminately into British cities the way Hamas has targeted southern Israeli cities and civilians for years? VICTOR B. POLAK London ...no. Israel aims to spare civilians Sir, - The global media priority being given to the Israeli targeting of Hamas facilities in Gaza contrasts oddly with that not afforded to the eight-year-long reign of over 8,000 rockets and mortar shells launched against Israeli towns by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other armed elements within Gaza - a campaign of terror which has continued unabated in spite of the complete Israeli troop and civilian withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. Indeed, over 5,600 projectiles have been launched against Israeli communities since then. When many training camps, rocket factories, storage sites, supply dumps, recruiting centers, headquarters, communications facilities and firing points of these armed elements are targeted by Israel but average fatalities per site are so low - and these sites are deliberately located within or near residential areas - it is beyond doubt that Israel does not aim to injure civilians. The great majority of those killed at such sites are those involved in Islamic Jihad, Hamas, etc. - a UN estimate suggests that most of those killed were armed Hamas forces. In contrast, the slaughter of two Arab children, Hanin Abu Khoussa, aged five, and her cousin, Sabah Abu Khoussa, 12, by rockets fired from northern Gaza was not a real mistake, in Hamas terms; it was a mistake only in that those jihadi rockets were aimed to slaughter Jewish children instead. December 24 alone saw 60 rockets and mortars fired at Israeli communities from Hamas-ruled Gaza, with another 94 on December 27. The 250,000 civilians within Israel under daily risk of such terror attacks from Gaza - in a state composed of Muslims, Bahais, Druse, Jews and Christians - equals the combined population of our four border counties of Donegal, Leitrim, Cavan and Monaghan being under daily rocket and mortar attack from Northern Ireland. No Irish government ever would, or should, stand idly by in face of such a sustained campaign of atrocities against civilians - so why should the speakers of Hebrew be the only people on earth not allowed to protect themselves? The civilian casualties are not only those physically maimed or murdered, but the huge number, in the tens of thousands, terrorized and reduced to nervous wrecks by such ongoing bombardment - which is the precise long-term strategy of this cowardly Hamas war on civilians. It behooves EU politicians and commentators, instead of just reacting to the emotive images of stretchers, to focus on this unending and indefensible rocket and mortar barrage, which is the sole cause of the drastic Israeli emergency surgery designed precisely to remove the future capability for such terror. The range and number of Israel's operations is proportionate to the need to remove the real threat to her own people from the Hamas war-machine ("Preventing a recurrence," David Horovitz, January 5). TOM CAREW, Chair Ireland-Israel Friendship League Dublin Sir, - If the Israeli response was proportionate in the real, moral sense - we'd see a hole in the ground where Gaza used to be. WILLIAM LEVY Baltimore We're for peace & life Sir, - Residents of Sderot, Ashkelon and Netivot; People of Israel: We would like you to know that you are not alone, that you have friends who demonstrate to defend you and whose voice is heard. We believe in you, we love peace, we love life and we offer you our firm respect and help. We are aware of the problems you are going through, and we want you to know that the more difficult the path, the effort, the larger the recompense. We cannot judge how much strength is still left in you, but we send you ours to reinforce yours and together we will confront the terror and the violence of those who lack even self-love. Finally, we thank you for fighting against terrorism, for flowering in the midst of the desert, for teaching democratic values and for withstanding what no one else would have withstood ("A moral war," Editorial, January 5). ERIK DOMINGUEZ GUEROLA Associations in Defense of Israel Jaen and Madrid, Spain Now that's security! Sir, - I wish my country was as protected as my Jerusalem Post when it's delivered to my doorstep - not just in one, but two plastic bags. STUART PILICHOWSKI Mevaseret Zion