The importance of showing both sides of the Israeli occupation

Regarding Janessa Gans's Dec. 21 Opinion piece, "So this is what occupation feels like": Many Palestinians want my people, the Jewish people, dead. Israelis are trying to protect themselves against terrorists.

If the Palestinian people wanted peace with Israel, they would have accepted the peace plans that have been offered since the state of Israel was created. Further, let's not forget that Israel was created because 6 million Jews were ripped from their lives, shipped like cattle to work camps, and systematically slaughtered. Their only crime was that they were Jews. We will never again go quietly.

We Americans should not forget the image of Palestinians dancing with joy as the US was attacked and the World Trade Center fell. The goal of some Muslims is to create a world that lives by Islamic law.

My people should be able to live on their small piece of earth in peace. Has Israel always done the right thing? No, but if Israelis do not protect themselves, the world might not come to their rescue. Never again.
J. Herman
New York

Thank you for Janessa Gans's Dec. 21 Opinion piece on her experience of being denied entry to the West Bank at an Israeli checkpoint. It provided a point of view sorely missed in most of our American media. It is in readers' interest to learn, when possible, of some of the institutional violence to which Israel subjects the Palestinians. As a healthcare worker in Gaza for three years, I witnessed much of this firsthand.
David Green
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Noble values, not 'shock and awe'

Kenneth Ballen's Dec. 20 Opinion piece, "Humanitarian aid: winning the terror war," about using humanitarian "weapons" such as the US Navy hospital ship, Mercy, has historical precedents. The Marshall Plan is an example. Perhaps when combating radical ideology, the US should arm itself with superior ideology that is consistently applied to all aspects of American policy. So we shouldn't torture, invade, or "shock and awe." We can trust noble American values and faith in democratic, transparent government. With such a good product, they will come.
Richard A. Rosenthal
Mesa, Ariz.

People power on the Web

Regarding Dante Chinni's Dec. 26 Opinion column, " 'They,' more than 'You,' are revolutionizing media": True, the Time magazine cover story that named "You" (i.e. everyone in the world) Person of the Year may have gone over the top. But the fact that tens of thousands of Web users are producing content, which is followed and acted upon by a few million others, is a significant turn of events.

Web services provide a platform to engage people, locally, nationally, and globally, and a means to communicate alternative perspectives that are much less likely to make it into the pages and broadcasts of traditional media. Blogs and other media provide communications channels and opportunities that have incredible power.

In my city, my blog is read by government agency heads, elected officials, other advocates, and journalists – with impact in my neighborhood, city, region, and beyond.

In the days of declining newspaper readership, the decline of radio news, and the fact that local television news typically reports little beyond murders, fires, accidents, sports, and weather, the Web is an important addition to the media and advocacy mix, even if only by millions of people, and not hundreds of millions of people – yet.
Richard Layman

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