Readers Write: Israeli actions were legitimate; Student debt's lasting effects

Letters to the Editor for July 21, 2014 weekly magazine:

Gann: Actions taken by Israel in rounding up people suspected of complicity in the kidnapping were entirely legitimate. 

Horacek: High levels of student loans amongst recent graduates mean they won't be able to save for their future children's college

Adel Hana/AP
A man inspects the rubble of a of four story building lived in by the al-Gasas family among others, in Gaza City, in the northern Gaza Strip, Monday, July 21, 2014. Israeli fighter planes struck homes across Gaza, burying at least three families under the rubble in at least four cases, said Ashraf al-Kidra, a Palestinian health official. In one of the strikes, nine members of the al-Gasas family were killed in Gaza City, he said.

Israeli actions were legitimate

The article “After three Israeli teens found dead will the revenge cycle be ratcheted up?” misinterpreted the conflict between Israel and the West Bank region (CSMonitor.com, June 30; see page 10 for a related story). 

Far from being “collective punishment,” the actions taken by the Israel Defense Forces in rounding up people suspected of complicity in the kidnapping were entirely legitimate methods of gathering intelligence relating to the location of the three kidnapped teens. 

The violence between the IDF and the West Bank or Gaza is not a “revenge cycle,” and the casualty figures cited in the article, reflecting a higher number of both young victims and Palestinian dead, ignores a critical factor: When the Palestinians fire rockets from Gaza, they don’t target military installations; they target residential areas. In other words, they aim deliberately at civilian targets. 

When the Israelis fire back at Gaza, they deliberately target rocket launchers and Hamas fighters responsible for launching rockets at civilians. This is a purely defensive action that any country would take to defend its civilian population. It has nothing to do with revenge and everything to do with protecting its people. Sadly, there are civilian casualties – because Hamas hides its operatives and its rocket launchers in populated areas in hopes that the inevitable civilian casualties will garner sympathetic coverage in the world press. 

Marjorie Gann

Toronto 

Student debt’s lasting effects

Regarding the June 23 article “Student debt’s long-armed reach”: Evidently the parents of today’s students who have such large debts were unable or unwilling to save enough money to significantly contribute to their child’s college expenses. The article indicates that it will take these debt-laden graduates longer to acquire assets to buy a home and save for retirement. But it also means that they will be unable to save for their own children’s college education.

Muriel Horacek

La Cañada, Calif.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

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The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

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