Re "Strike adds urgency to Gaza talks," Nov. 19
To say Israel is defending itself against the Palestinians is turning the sequence of events on its head.
Hamas and Israel had been observing a cease-fire, and no rockets were being fired on Israel. It was only a few days before the signing of the truce that a 13-year-old Gazan boy was reportedly killed by Israeli forces. Following the child's death, Israel assassinated a military leader of Hamas.
President Obama stands alone in the world saying Israel has launched this attack to defend itself.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has an election coming up in January. Bombing Gaza is a good distraction to fire up support for his party.
In response to being hit with un-aimed rockets, Israel responded by firing rockets at specific targets. Rocket fire continued, and both sides said they were retaliating.
But only a handful of Israelis died, while more than 100 Gaza Strip residents have been killed. Why the huge difference in the number of casualties?
Israel evacuated its citizens from areas of danger. The Palestinians, on the other hand, embedded their rocket firing positions and other potential targets in populated areas. Little action has been taken to protect the civilian population. One would think that the extremists want civilians killed to help gain sympathy from abroad. It's as if innocent civilians are purposefully being sacrificed by the militant extremist Palestinians.
With due respect to its fear of rockets out of Gaza, Israel is at a critical juncture. It is not the rockets that threaten Israel, it is its relationship with its neighbors.
The Middle East has gone through a sea change since the ground invasion of the Gaza Strip four years ago. Then, a puppet government in Egypt was in power. The Arab Spring has changed that.
An invasion of Gaza would risk Israel's good relations with Egypt. It could also bring down the Jordanian monarchy, strengthen Syrian rebels and make Lebanon more willing to shelter militants.
The path to survival for Israel is a peaceful resolution of its relationship with the Palestinian people.
Re "Peace takes a beating," Editorial, Nov. 16
The Times urges Israelis and Palestinians to go back to the negotiating table.
The Palestinians are governed by two bodies, the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas, the internationally recognized (and freely elected) terrorist group that controls Gaza. Hamas' stated goal is the destruction of the Jewish state.
Israel unilaterally disengaged from Gaza with the hope of never looking back. Instead, it has been bombarded with rockets and unceasing terror. With whom exactly should Israel negotiate?
To those decrying Israel's actions in Gaza, I pose the following scenario:
Suppose that militants in Tijuana began raining hundreds of rockets and missiles indiscriminately on San Diego. Further, accept the somewhat bizarre contention that this firing of rockets at civilians was somehow justified.
Assume now that formal requests and/or demands to the Mexican government (now designated a terrorist organization by the U.S., the European Union, Canada and Japan) fall on deaf ears. The militants' stated government policy is that San Diego simply does not have the right to exist.
What do you suppose the U.S. government would do when the Mexicans launch hundreds more rockets into San Diego?
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