Letters to the Editor

Readers write about the core issue in Gaza, and why playing the blame game and war are both futile.

Tackle the core of the conflict in Gaza

Regarding the Jan. 12 Opinion piece, "An inside story of how the US magnified Palestinian suffering": So the authors want to talk about "the real issues?" Fine!

The first issue to tackle is the core of the conflict: the refusal by the Arab world to allow a democratic Jewish state to exist in a small sliver of its ancient homeland. To reverse that would require abandoning the concept of the "right of return" of a flood of Palestinian refugees, which would destroy the very fiber of that Jewish state. The second, equally important step, would be to completely end the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic teachings force-fed the children in schools, in the mosques, and in the Arab media, in preparation for a new generation to grow up prepared to coexist with a Jewish state.

The Olsens' article did not preclude those essential first steps, without which the Israeli people will not be convinced that they should consider any further concessions or "risks for peace." However, the tone of the article seemed to suggest the American pressure on Israel would be the essential ingredient for Middle East peace. Unfortunately, that just won't fly.

William Bilek, MD
Hilton Head, S.C.

It amazes me that so many people think that Israel is the "bad guy" and it has no right to defend itself against an enemy that seems to have no respect for life, including the lives of its people. The fact is that Israel, just like any country, has an obligation to protect its citizens from terrorist attack.

Something potentially much more dangerous is the fact that Iran is developing nuclear weapons and supports the terrorists who want to destroy not only Israel, but any country that does not think like them. I would like to see a lasting peace and the end of the killing of innocents on both sides of a conflict. How do you make peace with people who think you have no right to exist?

ED Kotzen
Salem, N.H.

Enough with the blame game in Gaza

Regarding the Jan. 9 editorial, "The long tunnel to a Gaza peace": It is time to find real solutions instead of blaming and rationalizing. The US must stop its unconditional support of Israel.

As Israel populated much of the Palestinian lands, it has forgone a two-state solution. What is needed is one democratic, secular state that includes Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. South Africa, with its vast African majority, has become a democracy that dismantled its "homelands" and apartheid system. It is time for Israel to find a similar solution.

Heinz Aeschbach, MD
Austin, Texas

War in Gaza is futile

In response to the Jan. 12 article, "What's the endgame for Israel and Hamas in Gaza?": One is struck by the futility of warfare that causes only more terror and destruction and senseless death of civilians. With both sides unwilling or powerless to stop this onslaught on humanity, the US must work with others to impose a truce to permit humanitarian relief to enter Gaza and reconstruction to begin.

The US under Barack Obama will have the leadership and prestige to rally all parties to respect and guarantee a long-term truce. Sixty years may be needed to allow generations of Israelis and Palestinians (including Hamas and Fatah) time to address differences and set a framework where they can live in peace as sovereign states and good neighbors.

A new paradigm of dialogue, reconciliation, and respect could change the course of Israeli-Palestinian relations.

Tom Kimmel
Highland Park, Ill.

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