Regarding the Jan. 2 Opinion piece, "Israel's 'victories' in Gaza come at a steep price": In the mainstream American media, I rarely see articles that explain how Palestinians suffer under Israeli oppression. I think most Americans and Israelis must not know about this cruelty.
In 2004, I visited Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria as part of a US citizen fact-finding delegation. The conditions in the camps were horrible. They were not fit for human habitation. And yet, even before the latest Israeli attack on Gaza, I had heard that conditions in Gaza were worse. Now the pain and suffering in Gaza is even more acute.
With all the billions in aid American taxpayers give to Israel each year, how are we allowing this to happen? And why are we not making aid to Israel contingent on peace?
If Israel were really serious about peace, one of many signs would be a cessation of ongoing West Bank and East Jerusalem settlement construction and a dismantling of existing Jewish settlements to create a viable Palestinian state.
Author Sara Roy calls for a moral and just response to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I sincerely hope the new US administration will respond.
Sara Roy ignores the fact that Hamas is doctrinally committed to the destruction of Israel. She forgets that Israelis living in the south of Israel have been exposed to rocket fire for seven years. Even after Israel left the Gaza Strip three years ago, the terror activity from there did not stop. Thousands of rockets designed to kill civilians were launched at Israeli towns and villages.
When a truce was declared six months ago, the rocket fire did not stop. There are towns where the residents have only 15 seconds from the time the alarm sounds to find shelter.
No state can be expected to tolerate rockets being launched at its civilians. That is why Israel reacted.
Hamas uses mosques to warehouse Grad rockets. It stores arms and ammunition in private homes. It fires its rockets at Israel from heavily populated areas.
The responsibility for the civilian casualties in Gaza lies squarely on the shoulders of the Hamas leadership.
My deepest thanks for publishing Sara Roy's searing commentary on Israel's ongoing brutalities against the people of Gaza, including their children.
As a fellow Jewish American in Boston, I, too, have wondered how Israel's behavior – with the full support of the US government, and of too many in the Jewish community – can be reconciled with the Jewish ethical tradition that I grew up feeling proud to inherit.
In recent years, and above all in this sad week of Israeli bombardment against Gaza, I have become more and more convinced that no such reconciliation is possible.
Israel's cruel siege and assault are a crime not only against the Palestinian people, but against the rich tradition of Jewish moral teaching that Ms. Roy invokes.
Steven E. Ostrow
Sara Roy's honest and anguished response, as a Jew, to Israel's assault on the Palestinian people in Gaza is a flickering light in the darkness of Israel's rationale for its current killing and destruction.
Vancouver, British Columbia
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