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Letters week of July 5, 2007
Palestinians Continue to Make Bad Life Choices
Last summer, Israel was engaged in a war against the Hezbollah terrorists. This summer has begun with terrorists fighting each other (Cover story: "A Sticky Situation: The Hamas Fallout," June 21).
Of course, I'm referring to the civil war between Hamas and Fatah, the so-called "moderate" faction.
But rather than asking what Israel can do to alleviate this situation, we should ask the Palestinians what they can do to help themselves.
They have failed to take advantage of the many opportunities to improve their situation. Rather than taking advantage of the opportunity the Oslo process presented, the Palestinians have chosen to continue to work toward the vow they disavowed by signing Oslo: the destruction of Israel.
Israel has suffered much because of Palestinian intransigence, but so have the Palestinians. Their economy is in ruins, children are used as suicide bombers, and now a civil war will only lead to more death and poverty. Instead of choosing the path of peace, the Palestinians have chosen the path of war, and now are devouring each other.
Let's pray that the Palestinians decide to help themselves by letting go of this foolish notion of destroying Israel, and work on improving their own lives.
Rabbi Steven Saks
Adath Zion Congregation
Make the Price of Terror Too High for Them to Pay
Since Israel can expect to be criticized by the world no matter what efforts it makes to defend itself (Cover story: "A Sticky Situation: The Hamas Fallout," June 21), I submit the following suggestion for its government: It should regard attacks across Israel's borders with Gaza as acts of war against a sovereign nation.
Whether these acts are committed by Hamas or Fatah, a sovereign nation has the right to do whatever's necessary to defend itself.
The rockets launched from Gaza have a finite range. I suggest that Israel announce to the world that all of the territory in Gaza within the launching range of the rockets must be evacuated by its inhabitants within a specified period of time. After that, if rockets are launched from within its parameters, it will be deemed a free fire zone, and subject to air and artillery attack by the Israel Defense Force.
Such a plan will put Gaza residents on notice that their homes have been forfeit because of attacks launched from within their territory, and will reduce the likelihood of civilian casualties if, as and when Israel is forced to retaliate for continuing assaults against its territory.
The Jewish state must make the price of these random and murderous assaults too high for the Palestinians, in order to force their hand to do something about it.
Robert M. Cohan
Anti-Zionism Masks Old European 'Sickness'
First, it was the journalists, then it was the academics, and now it is Britain's labor unions that are clamoring for a cultural and economic boycott of Israel (Cover Story: "Europe Shows Its Darker Side," June 14).
This contrived assault is obviously being feed by a dark undercurrent of animosity towards the Jewish state, and by extension, to Jews in general.
According to these Brits, every act of self-defense by the Israelis is viewed as a provocation. Conversely, every provocation by the Palestinians is seen as an act of self-defense.
Once again, that old European sickness is upon us. Only this time, it is coming at us in the guise of anti-Zionism.
These developments, particularly as they relate to recent developments in Gaza, are quite instructive. To presume that concessions -- even painful ones -- will somehow endear Israel to this uncaring world is to confuse our expectations with current realities.
North Bethesda, Md.
Disassociating With Israel Won't Stop Anti-Semitism
I was disturbed by the letter-writer who responded to your June 14 cover story, "Europe Shows the Darker Side."
Matthew Rosenbaum said that he was "mortified" by the report on the increase of anti-Semitism in Europe (Letters: "Let's Act in Unison Before It's Too Late," June 21).
Of all possible reactions, why "mortified"?
Anti-Semitism is an evil that the nations have taken upon themselves for centuries -- with great enthusiasm.
Nothing we do to appease them will change that. It's not our responsibility to criticize Israel's policies in order to be accepted. Nor should we have to enumerate the many proofs of our loyalty to our host countries over the years.
History has shown repeatedly and painfully over the years that when we try to appease, fit in or otherwise negate our separateness, the world quickly jumps in to remind us of who we are.
Our job as Jews is to live a Torah-true life, coming closer to God and serving His will.
It is a waste of our precious time and energy to try to appease and apologize to the world for our very existence.
Leslie J. Frank
Perplexed by Jews Who Oppose Israel's Existence
Jonathan Tobin's column about Pat Buchanan and Phillip Weiss raises a question I have been asking myself for a long time, but to which I have never found an answer (A Matter of Opinion: "Anti-Zionists Left and Right," June 14).
Why are there so many self hating Jews and Jewish quislings like Weiss, Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein, who seem to support those who seek to destroy the Jewish state? I'm really looking for an answer.
Touched by the Critique of the Daniel Pearl Movie
Concerning Michael Elkin's recent critique of the new movie "A Mighty Heart" about the brutal death of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl (Arts & Entertainment: "One From the Heart," June 21), I'm fairly certain that I've not ever read a critique as touching and beautifully written as this one.