March 20: Our mortal enemy

This is our mortal enemy. The people who hand out sweets and dance in the streets when Israelis are murdered.

Sir, – IDF sources said Islamic Jihad was “begging Egypt to convince Israel to accept a ceasefire” and that “it would need time to rebuild its capabilities” (“IDF: Islamic Jihad severely damaged,” March 18).
Okay, understood. But surely this is the time to hit it hard, and I mean hard, utterly demolished once and for all.
The sources also said the IDF was “impressed by Islamic Jihad’s ability to fire more than 300 rockets during the main five days of hostilities.” Right, but now can our fighting men get down to the business at hand – that is, of course, after they have made sure enough money and supplies are getting into Gaza and that the exports we allow them to make to Europe are getting out.
In case anyone misses the point: This is our mortal enemy. The people who hand out sweets and dance in the streets when Israelis are murdered, particularly when the victims are children.
Quest for symmetry
Sir, – James Adler’s heartfelt plea (“Further asymmetry,” Letters, March 18) would be more persuasive if he had a better grasp of the facts here.
Our attackers deserve compassion because they are “poor” and “brown?” So are many Israelis.
Giving the Palestinians a pass for acts of terror on that basis is racist.
Further, the latest violence did not start with a “cross-border assassination” – it was ongoing, with low-level barrages of rockets and projectiles from Gaza (notably unreported in the Western press) numbering 50 in a bit over 60 days prior to the escalation.
The killing of an enemy leader (hardly an “assassination” in time of war) who was preparing another civilian mass casualty attack like the one he successfully executed last summer was merely an excuse for the Palestinians to ratchet things up.
The deaths were all on their side because we are better trained, our civilians better sheltered, and our aim and our weapons better.
People who can afford an arsenal of Grads, Katyushas and Fajr missiles, who can divert building materials to construct command bunkers and arms-smuggling tunnels instead of decent housing, and who teach their children the art of war rather than how to build a lasting economic infrastructure, are not “poor, destitute, despairing, powerless and brown.” It is the government elected by the people of Gaza.
Sir, – James Adler would like us to have sympathy for the Gazans.
Twenty-seven died. What he fails to mention is that at least 24 of them were firing or attempting to fire rockets at Israel. He needs to learn to differentiate between terrorists and civilians.
May the asymmetry of casualties continue as long as Gazans and all Palestinians continue to allow terrorists to dictate their lives and deaths.
Sir, – James Adler requires some thanks. At least he admits that the bombs from Gaza “are unequivocally wrong.” When 1 million Israeli citizens hide in their shelters from hundreds of rockets, by any standard of international law we have a right to reply.
Those dead on the Mavi Marmara were armed thugs from a terrorist organization and were attempting to break a legally sanctioned blockade. Adler complains that there, too, “all the dead [were] on one side.” If there had been IDF dead on the ship and more recently among civilians in the south, would it have been more politically correct?
There is little doubt in our minds that if we simply ignore terrorists and play nice with enemies who openly seek our nation’s destruction and our deaths in the near future, their success will bring an end to Adler’s letters complaining about Israel. He can attend some memorial service in Cambridge and then get on to his next cause.
Sir, – “Where is our broad sympathy, humanity and, above all, uneasiness with the continuing asymmetry?” queries James Adler.
It is precisely where it belongs, with the citizens of Israel whose lives have been turned into hell because of the desire of the Palestinians to obliterate the State of Israel and its citizens.
Sir, – If the Arabs in Gaza were sitting in shelters instead of firing rockets at Israeli civilians, they, too, would be safe. Ninety percent of their casualties occurred in the act of trying to fire missiles.
They got their just comeuppance.
By the way, the Arabs are poor, destitute and powerless because their leaders pocket most of the aid given them, using it for arms instead of building a state and infrastructure.
Sir, – Maybe writing from the safety of Cambridge, Massachusetts, James Adler is unaware of the significant dangers faced by one million Israeli residents.
His desire for more proportionate damage reflects a complete failure to understand the difference between Israelis and Gazans. They would delight in any Israeli deaths, whereas we accept that it is inevitable that Gazans will be killed, as they are either the ones firing the rockets or those close by who should be kept well away.
If Adler believes in symmetry, he should recommend that we fire the same number and type of rockets into Gaza and let them see if they can adequately protect their innocent civilian citizens.
Blame management
Sir, – Regarding “Shocking situation” (Editorial, March 15), the increase in our electricity bills and the threat this summer of recurring power shortages must be attributed to criminally poor management.
There is nothing easier to predict than the demand for electricity.
That the Israel Electric Corporation has not foreseen this is scandalous.
The increased costs are attributed to interruptions in the gas supply from Egypt. This was less easy to predict, but prudent management would have ensured that there were alternate sources of gas before betting our future on one supplier, and a foreign one at that.
STEPHEN COHEN Ma’aleh Adumim
Credit where due
Sir, – I would like to bring to your attention that in the letter to the editor written by Colin L. Leci (“Wasted energy,” February 28) there are a few basic factual errors and omissions.
Leci mentions Prof. Alexander Zarchin’s project as a viable desalination process. In actuality, this project was terminated by a government committee in 1967 on the grounds that it was uneconomical. Leci also claims that Harry Zvi Tabor was the inventor of solar ponds. I beg to differ. Tabor was a pioneer in solar energy according to “selected reprints of papers” published by Balaban Publishers – International Solar Energy Society, but it was Rudi Bloch who is the known inventor/developer of solar ponds.
Last, I was rather surprised that Leci failed to mention by name Prof. Sidney Loeb, who was actually the main inventor of the cellulose acetate membrane that is the basis for the most viable and accepted desalination process known today both in Israel and worldwide, called reverse osmosis (RO). Without Loeb’s invention and subsequent research, I believe Israel would today find itself in dire straits.
I do agree with Leci that this technology could have been activated earlier, in the late 1960s, but not, as he wrote, in the 1950s. The first successfully proven RO plant was in California in 1965. The second was at Kibbutz Yotvata in the late 1960s, soon after Loeb’s immigration to Israel, where he was a researcher and lecturer at Ben-Gurion University. He also consulted for Mekorot.