Re "Want electricity? Stop the rockets," Opinion, Sept. 22
Benny Morris advocates collective punishment for 1.5 million people. This isn't new; Israel has been collectively punishing Palestinians since its inception -- not for firing rockets but for living on and owning land wanted by the Jewish state.
There is a difference between what Morris advocates and terrorism; Morris targets every single innocent person in Gaza, not just a random few. Stopping the rockets could easily be achieved with a reasonable negotiated peace. The late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat offered just such a peace, and even Hamas has made overtures in that direction. Israel has had every opportunity, but it continues to be unwilling to return land that doesn't belong to it under international law or to make any good-faith effort to rectify the ethnic cleansing on which it was founded. Morris prefers that Israel continue its crimes against humanity than make peace or promote justice.
Margery Lynn Swen
It's sad to imagine Israeli children being frightened by primitive Palestinian rockets, and horrifying to know that Palestinian children are killed every day by bombs and bullets from Israeli occupation forces. While a few Israelis are understandably fearful, 1.5 million Gaza residents are in danger of dying due to starvation or because Israel has long since cut off most access to food, water, electricity and medical necessities. As usual, another apologist tries to pass Israel off as the eternal victim. With its proud history of resistance against oppression and racism, Israel should realize that humans denied basic necessities and rights will eventually stand up and fight back.
Israel has other options for stopping the rockets aimed at Sderot besides inflicting terror on civilians, putting them under siege and cutting off their electricity. It could stop confiscating and building on Palestinian land in the West Bank. It could stop targeted assassinations. It could offer a just peace in which Palestinian rights to land, water, infrastructure, liberty and self-determination were given the same value as they are for Israelis.
Since violence isn't working, why not try the love-your-enemy approach?
The constant rocketing from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip is indeed a serious problem. But Morris fails to put it in historical context. His remarkable account of the Israeli-Palestine conflict, "Righteous Victims," is a searing narrative that includes the roots of the present tragic and ominous stalemate.
National and religious extremists who dominated the Israeli government in the late 1970s launched a project to build settlements in the occupied territory to realize their vision of sovereignty over all the Holy Land, from the sea to the Jordan River. The military wing of Hamas (whose predecessor had been secretly supported by the Israelis as a counterweight to Arafat) became energized by this indefensible territorial grab and the ensuing pressures on the Palestinian population.
Israel has gained a valuable slice of the West Bank but at the cost of the intensified hostility of the region and the impossibility of attaining peace.