June 18: Israel need not be clueless in Gaza

Israel should utilize Allied tactics in WWII and cut off the water supply in Gaza to force Hamas submission.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Sir, - My father told me this was standard procedure in his American ground force unit in Europe during WWII: When they came across a town or village that caused trouble - i.e., sniped, land-mined or shelled US troops - they would just cut off their water source, and wait it out. He said he was always amazed by how quickly cooperation ensued. And, by the way, there was never any international condemnation... because it saved lives on both sides ("Israel's ongoing Gaza connection," David Horovitz, June 16). SETH CLYMAN Jerusalem Sir, - A large invasion of Gaza by our troops would cost us the lives of many of our boys, so let's fight this war (which we don't want) with the simplest weapons at hand - turning off electricity to the Palestinians and terminating all the other commodities we supply. Are we afraid we will alienate the masses? They are already alienated. Worried we will make them suffer? We at war. Does anyone in Israel still believe we can appease them other than by committing national suicide? It's time we put a stop to the Kassams from Gaza by fighting our enemies with the best and simplest means without creating needless bloodshed on either side. Let's stop worrying what the "goyim" will say and look out for Israel's best interests. RON BELZER Petah Tikva Sir, - In "What to do about Gaza" (June 17) Adam Haskel does not consider what will happen "the day after." In Iraq the Americans overthrew Saddam but had absolutely no plans for what to do after his regime toppled. They are still paying the price. Israel must consider: If it succeeds in uprooting Hamas, will the gap be filled by al-Qaida? The trick is to use our position of power to force concessions from Hamas and keep it on a short leash. At the same time we should use our position to force Fatah to finally take steps to end corruption in its newly formed government, in the hope that the Palestinians will finally embrace Abbas as their true leader. We must hope that in his meeting with the US president Prime Minister Olmert will not look for the easy way out, but put Israel's interests before politics. If he can handle this situation successfully the nation may forgive him his past errors. P. YONAH Shoham Sir, - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas thought he could play Yasser Arafat's game of pressuring Israel into making concessions by using force - the difference being that Hamas, a potential Fatah rival, would be doing his dirty work for him. It was, Abbas very likely thought, a win-win situation: Hamas would attack Israel, thereby forcing concessions for which Abbas would take the credit. If worse came to worst and Israel made no concessions, it would take reprisals against Hamas, not Fatah. Hence, even though he had numerous opportunities to end the smuggling of arms from Egypt - and claimed he was trying his best - Abbas simply turned a blind eye. The only problem was Hamas got tired of playing Abbas's game, and turned the weapons he had allowed them to receive on him. It's a fine example of the adage: Too clever by half... ("Defiant Abbas forms cabinet without Hamas," June 17). STUART KATSOFF Tel Aviv Sir, - Several of your June 17 articles suggested that the answer to the present crisis may be a three- rather than a one- or two-state solution. With the benign treatment of a PA-run state, with the active establishment of employment opportunities and a social safety net, it may be possible to gain a cooperative, if not enthusiastic, state to the east - one with a possibly lower birthrate and lower level of anger - and allow the government to focus its attention on the east, since the goals vis-a-vis Hamas are better defined. An international force preventing arms smuggling from Egypt would also be required, or Israel would be forced to be more assertive there; but it is likely the world is getting frustrated with the internecine battles and would be willing to take some form of action. The key to such a solution would be a true and cooperative peace with the PA state, demonstrating Israel's willingness to provide agricultural, technological and economic assistance to those with a moderate approach. It can only be hoped that the people of Gaza would ultimately get the message. Admittedly it would mean an additional Arab state in the UN, but the numbers are so overwhelming now that one more or less won't make much of a difference. If real peace can be obtained, the numbers will be irrelevant. RICHARD A. ROSEN West Mount Vernon, New York Sir, - The ironies in Gaza know no end. First, Palestinian Arabs elect a Hamas dictatorship that targets Israel and destroys their lives. Then, when Gaza turns to Hell-on-Earth, where do they try to escape to? Not Egypt: that's just for letting guns and rockets through. They try to escape through the Erez crossing into Israel. That's where they go when they seek freedom, medical care, civil rights, education, a livelihood, freedom of speech and everything else their own leaders refuse them. JOHN LALOR Dublin, Ireland Apologies all round Sir, - Re "BBC sorry for calling Jerusalem capital of Israel, says it won't happen again" (June 15): If I have ever called the BBC an honest, ethical, unbiased, respectable or responsible news service, I apologize. It will not happen again. Israel, like every other sovereign state, has the right to decide where its capital is and no politically and/or racially motivated whining from private organizations or individuals in any foreign country can change that. The BBC has reached new heights of disingenuousness, and I call on all citizens of this country to demand it prove its self-proclaimed impartiality by recognizing the fact that Jerusalem is, indeed, Israel's capital. IAN BANKS National Chairman, HOB British Immigrants Association Beit Shemesh Sir, - The Fighting for Georgia organization recognizes, in fidelity to God and the Holy Bible, that Jerusalem is and always will be the capital of Israel. We don't accept that the BBC and the international community possess the right to dictate to Israel where its capital should be. The BBC and the international community are just employees drawing paychecks. Israel is a sovereign nation established by the will of Almighty God and protecting those who draw paychecks. BILLY JOE PARKER Waleska, Georgia Sir, - I wonder if the BBC would be gracious enough to accept the gift of a prayer mat, on which they could keep their knees and noses clean while they grovel apologetically for having "mistakenly" called Jerusalem the capital of Israel. FAY SENDZUL Hod Hasharon Too free with words Sir, - Israel prides itself on being an oasis of freedom in the Middle East. That includes freedom to live where one wishes. Israelis who choose to live abroad are exercising that freedom. So why refer to them as "coming out of the woodwork," as in the introduction to "A reflection of their love"? (Arts and Entertainment, June 14.) GERRY MYERS Beit Zayit