June 3: Readers continue to react to the Gaza flotilla

If the Palestinians in Gaza were willing to live peacefully with Israel, Israel would willfully lift the siege.

'Post' readers continue to react to the Gaza flotilla
Sir, – Does the world understand why Israel initiated a siege on Gaza? In none of the letters to the Post or the many responses printed in our newspapers have I found an adequate  explanation.
Let’s get the simple truth out.
Hamas in Gaza is sworn to Israel’s destruction and has been smuggling in heavy weaponry (including missiles that can reach many parts of Israel). There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that it will use these missiles against heavily populated areas in Israel when it sees fit. The naval blockade of Gaza is Israel’s only way of limiting the quantity of these weapons.
If the Palestinians in Gaza were willing to live peacefully with Israel, Israel would willfully lift the siege. Israel itself is under siege by implacable enemies bent on its annihilation. Self-defense is not an option but a necessity.
    RON  BELZER    Petah Tikva
Sir, – One would think a longtime occupying power like Israel would know nonviolent coercive riot control better than anyone. Preparedness would seem especially important, as this was not a riot Israel unexpectedly encountered, but a military engagement Israel deliberately sought – and  in international waters, toward ships not attacking or even heading for Israel.
And the unsettling fact remains: Every single one of the dead are on one side.
Still, the videos seem damning, and the passengers on the boat seem to have planned a violent ambush, even a “lynching.”
Why does Israel constantly shoot itself in the foot – as it shoots others lethally? This isn’t the voice of rabid anti-Israel hatred finding release, but the despair of an Israel supporter who finds the videos, even in edited form, very disturbing.
I’m saddened and appalled by the tragedy and believe the flotilla organizers may have been tricked by the violent plans of the passengers on one boat. Still, in good faith toward Israel (and toward the peaceable flotilla organizers from the other boats and the suffering Gazans), I’m trying to work out what happened.
    JAMES ADLER    Cambridge, Massachusetts
Sir, – Once again we are being condemned for not dying gracefully. When will we get it?
No one cares what is done to Israelis. Fire rockets into our cities. Lynch and kidnap our sons. Not only is it acceptable, it is heroic, because when we dare to defend ourselves, everyone is ready to condemn us. The deck is stacked against us – when that is the case, continuing to play the game is just plain stupid.
What’s the alternative? To play a game where we hold all the cards. Forget about the two-state solution, because to work, it requires good faith, which, we should know by now, neither the so-called Palestinians nor the rest of the world possess.
Unify the country within the post-1967 borders and give citizenship to anyone willing to pledge allegiance to the state. Those unwilling to accept citizenship can remain residents as long as they stay out of trouble.
Use the unification of Germany as an example. The fears of the West Germans were unrealized and the quality of life in the East rose to the level of the West. The unification of Israel will materially benefit Israeli Arabs as much as it will the population of the West Bank and Gaza.
The “occupation” would be ended. The settlements would be legitimized. Not a single person would have to leave his or her home. All it would take is the leadership saying “enough!”
    CHAIM HANDLER    Yakir
Sir, – Seeing and hearing the reactions of numerous foreign government spokespersons, and following the online international media coverage of Israel’s debacle with the “peace” flotilla, I cannot help but think what it must have been like for a black man in the American South during the first half of the last century, made to stand trial for assaulting a white woman he never laid eyes on until seeing her in the courtroom.
    ARDIE GELDMAN    Efrat
What can we do?
Sir, – The recent operation against the Gaza-bound flotilla has once again resulted in complaints against the IDF and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that information is not being sent out fast enough (“A scandalous saga of withheld footage,” June 2).
The old adage of “What can I do for you?” is more relevant than “What can you do for me?” in the current war of information being waged against us. As an organization that maintains contact with the MFA and disseminates information to those organizations that see the value of maintaining a link with us, I can say that information is flowing as never before.
Yes, there is still room for improvement, but if we compare the current operation with Operation Cast Lead, there is a significant improvement in the quality, quantity and speed of reaction. No, it is not perfect, but it is getting better.
So, what can I do for you? We were beaten decisively in the PR battle on social media networking sites, which started before the flotilla even left port. We need much more grass roots action in this field, in particular from those who are complaining.
    STUART PALMER    Chairman, Coalition of Hasbara Volunteers    Haifa
Sir, – David Horovitz is 100 percent correct in his first paragraph, in which he calls for those who were responsible for the delay in releasing IDF footage of the flotilla raid to be “relieved of their responsibilities, effective immediately.” Why does the Post not launch a public petition to this effect?
    PETER SIMPSON    Jerusalem
Sir, – Although it was recommended that Twitter is the place for hasbara (“#FreeHasbara,” June 1), let’s not wait for the “other guy” to do it. Amir Mizroch, unless your duties at the Post prohibit you from participating, get on board the train before it leaves the station.
Anybody who loves this country and is Internet savvy can jump into thefray and get the facts out there. It must be explained and explained.We seem to be stuck in a rut. Let’s get out of it.
The bottom line is that whether you are Left or Right, we all want peace and a just place among the world community.
    Kfar Saba
Not its way
Sir, – Israel is a true democracy. In the Knesset, which is elected bythe people, there are even MKs whose party platform includes thedestruction of Israel. One such parliamentarian is MK Haneen Zoabi, whoassumed that the IDF wanted as many fatalities as possible in theactivist flotilla (“‘Confrontation was not our goal,’ says Balad MK whowas aboard ‘Mavi Marmara,’” June 2).
I wish that she was correct in her assumption, because the IDF couldhave easily destroyed this flotilla with a simple barrage of missilesfrom the safety of shore. Not even one soldier would have been injured.But, that is not Israel’s way.
And back to Turkey
Sir, – After taking non-stop flak from Turkey, why doesn’t Israel go onthe offensive? What is preventing it from reminding the world aboutTurkey’s invasion and prolonged occupation of half of Cyprus? Whyshould Israel always push under the carpet the Turkish genocide of theArmenians?
What is Israel afraid of? World opinion?
    Dr. Clive Levy
    Petah Tikva
Some do like us
Sir, – I have been following the incident regarding the flotilla andwant to assure you that there are many who support Israel fully inregard to protecting its sovereignty against those who wish to destroyher.
I also wish to apologize for how Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wastreated by President Obama. I think it was unconscionable and amfrankly embarrassed.
Remembering Israel daily in thought and prayer.
    Portland, Oregon
Sir, – It’s clear that Israel is not dealt with honestly. You recognizein the reactions of world opinion the old-time anti-Semitism.
Call it what you want: anti-Zionism, anti-Judaism. In my opinion it has the same roots.
What to do? Don’t trust in the United States (with such a friend whoforbids you to live and build in the promised land, you don’t needenemies) or in any other superpower. Trust in God. I’m sure He willhelp you.
    Middelburg, The Netherlands
Latin lessons
Sir, – Once again, we can see who benefits ultimately from the Gazaflotilla crisis (“Flotilla fallout could disrupt move for additionalsanctions against Iran,” June 2).
With the one-year anniversary of the mass election protests coming up,what better way to get the masses out on the street than protestingIsrael?
As Cicero told us to always ask, “Qui bono? (Who benefits?).”
Sir, – Some knowledge of Latin is obviously not a requirement forcomposers of headlines at the Post, but a Harvard graduate discussingthe Gaza flotilla takeover should know better (“The Gaza convoytakeover: An effective ‘casus bellum’?,” June 1).
The correct phrase to describe a cause or justification for war is, ofcourse, “casus belli,” Latin being an inflected language that requiresthe genitive form of the noun “bellum.”
    The writer is a former professor of English literature at Yeshiva University in New York