AP, Associated Press

Readers Write (Nov. 20): Gaza crisis

  • November 19, 2012 - 8:25 PM


Understanding the conflict's latest flare


Lately, I have seen and read so much on public radio and public TV about who is to blame for what is going on in Gaza. Even as a self-confessed, card-carrying, bleeding-heart liberal, I am totally confused with even a discussion of this.

The Arabs in Gaza have purposely chosen to indiscriminately send hundreds and hundreds of mortars and rockets against purely civilian targets in what is unambiguously the internationally recognized land of Israel. This is inarguably the clearest form of war crime and crime against humanity that one can imagine. Under international law, logic and common sense, Israel has the absolute right to defend itself against these crimes. So, to even discuss who is to blame absolutely confuses me.

As Israel's premier has said, "We will not accept a situation in which Israeli citizens are threatened by the terror of rockets. No country would accept this; Israel will not accept it." It would seem that the matter is closed and not subject to a "blame" debate.


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The depredations sustained by the Palestinians in Gaza over a half-century are not unlike those sustained in the Third Reich by Jewry whose apologists' penchant continue to add much sanctimonious twaddle declaring their right to defend themselves against their victims' "acts of terrorism."


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Is it me, or am I seeing Palestinian suffering being portrayed as victimization while Israeli deaths are seen as deserved? Do we need an Iranian missile launched from Gaza to kill 100 or 1,000 Israelis before things are seen as "more even" or "more fair"? Wow. Don't tell me Israel is overreacting when 85 airstrikes cause fewer than 40 deaths in an effort to stop missiles from landing in its midst and murdering their innocents. That is a pretty measured response, inappropriately portrayed to cast Israeli in a bad light.


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On Nov. 4, Israeli forces shot dead an unarmed man inside the Gaza Strip. Four days later, Israeli forces entered Gaza to shoot and kill a 13-year-old boy. On Nov. 10, Gaza resistance fighters attacked an Israeli military jeep, injuring four soldiers. That prompted a three-day Israeli response that killed five Palestinian civilians, three of them children.

After that incident, a tentative truce brokered by Egypt appeared to be in place as of Nov. 13. The following day, Israel broke the truce and carried out the targeted murder that killed Ahmad al-Jabari, a Hamas leader.

Don't the Palestinians have the right to defend themselves?

But, of course, the Palestinians don't have fighter jets, drones, tanks, armored bulldozers, high-powered weapons, or all the other military equipment financed by the United States.

The Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated places on earth: 1.7 million people jammed into 141 square miles. Attacking the Gaza Strip is a lot like shooting goldfish in a bowl. As of Friday night, the Israelis had made 550 airstrikes on Gaza; by Saturday morning, they had killed 40 Palestinians and wounded another 385.


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My heart sank as I read the second line in the article in Sunday's Star Tribune, on Minnesotans praying for peace in the Gaza crisis. It stated that "one prayer was echoed throughout [synagogues] while elsewhere, others prayed for the Palestinians." I would like to clarify that Jewish prayers for peace, and the intention of the Jewish people, is never for our own people alone. When bombs are raining down on the region, it harms all precious life and causes all kinds of families to suffer. The prayers that were said throughout the state were undoubtedly for the safety and welfare of all affected. And done with the true desire that a reliable and lasting peace will be reached without delay.


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In the past week, we as a country have seen two major news stories unfold. One involves a sex scandal, while the other involves a region of the world going to war. I would like to think that Americans would be more concerned with the latter. But we have become a country that is more interested in sex than in innocent people dying. Maybe it's because we don't want to confront the harsh realities of the world we live in, or maybe it's because it's easier to talk about extramarital affairs. However, the truth is that there are innocent people dying on both sides of the conflict in Israel and Gaza. Every day, more horrifying stories emerge about rockets being fired and lives being lost in the Middle East. I would like to believe that we are a country that concerns ourselves with issues such as these, instead of simple, unimportant issues such as the Petraeus affair.

We as a country have been told many times that we must start getting things done to make any progress, and this is entirely true. But that isn't just a charge given to our politicians. It is a charge given to all Americans. We have the ability to make the world a better place. But now the question is whether we will choose to use that ability. I sincerely hope that we wake up as a nation and answer a firm "yes" to that question.


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