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Israeli Actions Defy the Geneva Convention

January 19, 2002

Thank you for your coverage of the Israeli army's demolition of refugee homes on the Gaza side on the border with Egypt ("Gaza Operation Draws Unusual Criticism in Israel," Jan. 14). What was appalling to me was Foreign Minister Shimon Peres' statement: "The destruction of homes causes us very bad media damage." The Israeli army razes 52 houses and renders 411 people homeless in the dead of winter, committing a war crime and constituting a grave breach of the Geneva Convention, which protects civilians under occupation, and Peres is concerned about bad media damage?

How can we, as U.S. citizens, respond to the average Palestinian who truly wants peace but also feels that our U.S. government has given Israel the green light to destroy Palestinian homes and infrastructure? Application of international law and the presence of U.N. observers in that area is a must if we are hoping for a sustainable peace in that highly explosive region of the world.

Lulu Emery

Canyon Country

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One sign of a healthy democracy in a country is the freedom of its citizens to voice their opinions regarding the actions and policies of their government. I doubt whether the Palestinians would have an opportunity to debate the correctness of Katyusha rockets landing on homes in Tel Aviv and other cities throughout Israel. Had these weapons been successfully smuggled through the Rafah tunnels or by cargo ships off the Gaza Strip, the criticism in Israel would be about the government not doing enough to protect its citizens.

Martin Hardstark

North Hollywood

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