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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

December 31, 2008 at 4:15 PM

Israeli / Palestinian conflict

Time to intervene

Editor, The Times:

Clearly, Israel is reacting to the firing of missiles into Israel by misguided Palestinian militants, but how about the principle of proportionality? When one or two Israelis are killed, the Israeli response results in the killing of hundreds of Palestinians [“Palestinian rockets put Israelis on front line,” Times, page one, Dec. 31].

When Western governments, including our own, call for the use of restraint on both sides, they give the appearance that they believe the Gazans have a powerful war machine that can militarily challenge the Israeli Defense Forces. This is not the case.

Gaza is basically a huge refugee camp that has been held prisoner by Israel for years. There is no chance of Gaza defeating Israel militarily, but if Hamas can survive this attack by a powerful military machine, in the eyes of the world they will have prevailed.

Hamas won an election and they have a right to be in charge of at least part of the government of the Palestinian people. They won that election because Fatah is corrupt. They must be brought into the negotiating process for a two-state solution.

The only chance for a long-term solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is for meaningful negotiations monitored and sponsored by the U.S. government. Our government must stop supporting everything the Israelis do.

It is amazing that the Western powers, especially the U.S., unequivocally support Israel in whatever action it takes against the Palestinians, even the continued building of illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.

The Arab governments’ support of Israel by their non-action is even more unbelievable. The F-16 jets that are bombing Gaza are produced and furnished by the U.S. Can’t our government realize that every time an innocent kid is killed by an Israeli jet, potential terrorists are created? Should we be surprised if their terrorist acts are directed against us?

— Philip Heft, Kent

No truce at all

Israel began “Operation Cast Lead” in response to the incessant rocket attacks on Israeli towns from Gaza. Deb Riechmann describes the current situation as “violence that began . . . after a six-month truce between Israel and the militants expired” [“White House: Bush discusses Mideast with PM Olmert,” Politics, Dec. 31].

Yet she conveniently fails to mention that during the so-called truce, 223 rockets and bombs were fired from Gaza into Israel, leading one to believe that a great deal of violence occurred during the “truce” itself.

Furthermore, between 2001 and 2008, 7,650 rockets and bombs fell on Israeli towns, with over 5,000 of these following Israel’s disengagement from Gaza in August 2005. These rockets and bombs are aimed at Israeli villages and towns to terrify, maim and kill Israeli civilians.

In addition to the constant cease-fire violations, it is clear that Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups have been targeting Israeli civilians for years; Israel is simply acting to protect its citizens.

— Edith Molot, Bellevue

An obvious solution

If the Palestinians truly wanted peace, they could have it any time. All they have to do is stop lobbing rockets into Israel and stop blowing up school buses, cafes, etc.

If they truly want a two-state solution, they could have it any time they want it. All they have to do is agree to stop trying to destroy Israel and admit it has a right to exist—and, of course, stop lobbing rockets, blowing up buses, etc.

There is only one thing standing in the way of peace: the Palestinians; they can’t live in peace with Israel.

Israel has been more than willing to live in peace with the Palestinians and has bent over backward, giving them many opportunities to do so. Every time, the Palestinians break the peace.

How can anyone expect Israel to just sit back and say that’s OK? If someone launched 100 rockets at Seattle tomorrow, would you say they had a right to do it?

The solution is obvious: If you don’t want to be attacked, stop shooting rockets at people who aren’t attacking you.

— Derek Tyler, Yakima

A genocidal bloodbath

Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak is reported to have described Israel’s assault on Gaza variously as an “all-out war” and “a war to the bitter end” in a recent speech to the Israeli parliament. Those are inaccurate descriptions.

The Israeli assault against Gaza is not a war, but rather a cowardly massacre of Palestinian civilians by one of the most powerful military forces on Earth. The Israeli attacks amount to premeditated and deliberate carnage during which Israel has committed severe and massive violations of international humanitarian law.

Israel appears to be attempting a “final solution” to the “Palestinian problem” by engaging in efforts to exterminate the Gazans in what is beginning to resemble a genocidal bloodbath.

This ruthless aggression by Israel against the population of a territory that it illegally occupies will in all likelihood be remembered by future generations as a dreadful crime against humanity.

— Caroline Herzenberg, Chicago, Ill.

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