July 14: Readers react to Operation Protective Edge

I agree fully with your editorial about the responsible statements of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Sir, – With regard to “Gazans fire 150 rockets at large swaths of Israel” (July 11), if Israel’s goal is to stop this particular round of rocket attacks, a cease-fire of some sort will probably achieve that, at least for a period of time.
If so, the time to halt the activity is now, while Iron Dome has proved remarkably effective and spared Israel from suffering almost any casualties.
If, however, the government is determined to eliminate Hamas’s arsenal and human and technical infrastructure, a ground invasion will be necessary. This means turning the area upside-down, street by street and house by house, until the fighters and their equipment are eliminated. The IDF is up to the task militarily but such a venture would endanger the lives of thousands of Palestinian non-combatants.
Opening a temporary refuge facility for these non-combatants on the Israeli side of the border would give them an alternative to suffering the consequences of an invasion. The facility would offer shelter, food, water and medical treatment. Naturally, the Israeli authorities would screen those seeking entrance to prevent infiltration by militants. Non-combatants remaining in the war zone of their own free would bear the consequences, with no moral onus on Israel.
Having cleared the area of non-combatants, Israel would be free to exercise far-reaching measures that would be impossible otherwise. Cutting off power, water and communications would be a first step toward bringing the militants to their knees before soldiers are actually put in harm’s way. Eliminating resistance would become much easier, and the cost in human life would be minimal, apart from jihadists determined to fight to the death.
Sir, – In the conflict with Gaza, casualty figures play a large role in the minds of observers. When they hear that no Israelis have been killed by missiles but that over 100 Gazans have been killed by Israeli counter-strikes, people tend to sympathize with the side that has the larger body count.
But that is simplistic and the Gaza casualty figures (provided by Hamas) are unreliable. One reason is that its terrorist operatives do not wear uniforms. They are irregulars. Hence it is impossible to distinguish them from actual civilians. It’s anyone’s guess how many actual combatants and how many civilians have really been killed.
Sir, – Herb Keinon’s account of security cabinet deliberations (“Looking for middle ground,” Analysis, July 11) is frightening in that Israel’s leadership cannot think outside the military box. The discussion is over how much to shoot, forgetting that relying on force, as Keinon notes, has not solved the problem.
Why not try to lower hostility, change the atmospherics and create more space diplomatically to act by doing things like lifting the Gaza blockade while screening inbound cargo for weapons? Why not treat Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas with some respect and, proceeding on the basis of a real willingness to compromise, negotiate a twostate solution? A truly sovereign Palestinian state on the West Bank that is treated respectfully by Israel is the best way to destroy Hamas’s allure, proving that diplomacy works, not violence. The price of relentlessly creating a greater Israel is, tragically, more war.
Newton, Massachusetts
Sir, – I agree fully with your editorial about the responsible statements of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and the irresponsible and hateful statement of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who threw the term “Auschwitz” at the Jewish state (“Watch your words,” July 11).
However, the conclusion should have been different. The question is not whether Abbas can be a peace partner in the future. It is whether he was ever a peace partner.
Sir, – In civilian areas the people of Gaza have built tunnels to infiltrate into Israel. They have built underground storerooms for missiles.
They have built underground bunkers for their top brass. They have built underground missile-launching pads.
They have become the most prodigious underground builders since the Viet Cong. But they have not managed to build a public underground shelter.
Sir, – Hamas launches rockets from the Gaza Strip toward Jerusalem, which the Muslims claim contains one of their holiest sites – the Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount (despite there being no mention of it in their holy books).
If they are willing to risk hitting it, then clearly it cannot hold as precious a place in their hearts as they claim.
If they want us to give them land in exchange for peace, logic will now demand that we sacrifice not one extra millimeter of our hard-fought-for heritage, which would potentially bring their rocket launchers closer to our homes and our loved ones.
Sir, – The best way to ensure that war, rebellion and animosity continue for generations is to keep your foot on the neck of your neighbors.
There was a time when Israel had the moral high ground. That time is gone. Israel’s policy of avoiding the inevitable solution to endless war – two states – makes it certain that there will be continued suffering and death for both sides.
How is that for a vision of the future?
Tucson, Arizona
Sir, – I do not see a choice regarding the occupation. If you want to stop the rockets, you will have to re-occupy!
Wilmington, Delaware Sir, – I am a Holocaust survivor.
I came to Israel out of a sense of returning home to our land and our people. Also – and this is a major “also” – after seeing how helpless we were with no country of our own, no army and with the world either actively or passively against us as a people, I was convinced that here we would finally be able to defend ourselves.
Let’s do so.
With no apologies to anyone. Please!
Sir, – I could fill a page with comments, but one simple question says it all: Is there any country, one single country anywhere in the world, that would sit back while it is being bombarded by its neighbor with over a hundred rockets a day?” We need say no more. Just place this question worldwide.
Sir, – Let us hope that this time we resolve the issues in a more positive manner than in the past so that our brethren in the South will never again be subjected to the fear perpetrated from Gaza and our children will once again and forever feel free to play in their respective playgrounds! Whereas Jews pray for the well-being all mankind, the extremist terrorist minority of the Arab world is bent on the destruction of all Jews at the expense of its own people.
Hopefully, this will be the last war and we of lucid, fair minds, on both sides of the border, will know no more war no more bloodshed, and thus love our children more than hate each other.
Sir, – Congratulations in advance to the IDF and Israeli political leaders for yet another Pyrrhic victory that will serve to inspire yet another legion of those advocating the destruction of the State of Israel.
New York
Sir, – I am sure that Sigmund Freud would have something pertinent to say about the Gazans’ love affair with their rockets.