Letters the Week of Aug. 14, 2014


As the Gaza conflict continues, readers sound off on the use of the term "innocent civilians," encourage the community to send donations to Israel and lobby for restrictions to keep Hamas from accessing concrete that could be used to build more tunnels.

Did ‘Innocent Civilians’ Not Vote for Hamas?

In its reporting of Israel’s Gaza incursion, the media continue to refer to casualties as “innocent civilians.” This terminology is not only misleading, but, in most cases, false. The adult population of Gaza, in a democratic election, voted for Hamas, an organization devoted to the destruction of Israel.
Digging the tunnels, which Israel systematically destroyed, requires the disposal of large amounts of dirt, a disposal that can only be accomplished with the full cooperation of the residents.
The Gazans knew that Israel would tolerate tunnels and rockets for only so long, and once these became a threat, it would attack. It did so in 2008 and 2012, with huge casualties. The present response, based on those prior incursions, was fully predictable.
While young children may be innocent — they have no control or input into the conflict — older youth and, even more clearly the adult population that installed the present government, are simply paying the predictable price for their support of Hamas. 
David C. Harrison | Philadelphia
Many Ways to Contribute to Israel’s Well-Being
In the July 31 issue of the Jewish Exponent, Myles Gordon wrote an excellent letter asking readers to buy Israel Bonds. (“The Time Is Now to Buy Israel Bonds”) This is a great suggestion, but we can do other things, like make outright gifts and ask our relatives and friends to do the same. After reminiscing about the old neighborhood with a childhood friend the other day, I called him back and asked him to give to Israel. He asked me how much I was giving and said he would give at least that much. My children have young families and face major bills each month. They are giving, and I am matching their gifts.
I am not asking people to make cold calls to people who would never give to Israel. We all know who the supporters of Israel are, and I am asking people to contact them. Some people are willing to give, but need a little prompt. We can provide that prompt.
Saul Axelrod | Elkins Park
Set Restrictions on Hamas in Concrete Terms
Your July 16 editorial, “A False Equivalency,” noted that Hamas “dug tunnels to smuggle weapons rather than build bridges to economic opportunity.” The tunnels were so effective — and so hard to destroy — because they were reinforced with concrete. The Washington Post last month noted that one particular tunnel alone required 800 tons of concrete to build. 
There was a time when Israel prohibited concrete from entering Gaza, on the grounds that it could be used for legitimate purposes, such as construction, or it could be used for deadly purposes, such as terror tunnels. But then the Obama administration, the United Nations and the usual pundits began pressuring Israel to permit construction materials, including concrete, to enter Gaza, on the grounds that the residents needed to build houses. So Israel relented. Hamas took the concrete — and used it for tunnels.
In the weeks and months ahead, critics of Israel will no doubt once again raise a hue and cry about the “cruelty” of Israel's blockade and the need for “construction materials” in Gaza. Friends of Israel need to mobilize against such pressure, and support Israel’s prevention of concrete from reaching Gaza.
Moshe Phillips and Benyamin Korn
Board members, Religious Zionists of America | New York  


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