ON AUG. 12, the Journal printed five letters opposing Israel’s response to Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza, and not one supporting Israel. This imbalance doesn’t reflect the consensus of American public opinion any better than the letters themselves reflect the facts about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
One letter writer says that “way back in 1947,” Israel rejected the U.N. General Assembly decision to partition the British mandate of Palestine into two separate states. The truth is that the Jews accepted the partition – even though it excluded Jerusalem and its Jewish majority population – and the Arabs rejected it.
When Israel declared its independence in 1948, within the U.N.-mandated boundaries, it was immediately attacked by five Arab states, as well as by Arabs living within their side of the partition. Israel prevailed in the war and lived within the U.N.-sanctioned ceasefire lines for 19 years, until it gained control of the West Bank and Gaza in a defensive war in June 1967. The Arab League response to Israel’s victory came two months later in Khartoum, Sudan: “No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with Israel.”
Years later, in 2005, Israel pulled out of Gaza, only to face increased rocket attacks and the Hamas takeover in 2007. Hamas openly and actively calls for the destruction of Israel by whatever means possible, and its rocket attacks have been identified as terrorist activity by the U.N. and the European Union as well as Israel and the United States.
Finally, the Aug. 12 letters parrot Hamas propaganda by outrageously smearing Israel with the Nazi label and claiming that Palestinian casualties are “nearly all civilians,” when the Israel Defense Force has countered with evidence that nearly half the casualties are Hamas fighters.
Facts like these will help us understand the situation today far better than sound bites coming out of the Hamas PR campaign.
EDITOR’s NOTE: The Aug. 12 letters package reflected the letters the Journal had received on the topic recently and that fit the length guidelines for publication.
Hamas values death, not life
AUG. 12 letters page concerning the Hamas/Israel conflict was depressing to read. All of the writers are forgetting that this conflict began with Hamas shelling Israel from the Gaza strip. Hamas was the aggressor, and the civilian casualties in Gaza are the result of Israel defending itself from Hamas.
That means Hamas, not Israel, bears the blame for any casualties in Gaza. Israel even went so far as to warn the residents of Gaza that they were going to attack, so the civilians could leave the area if they wanted to avoid casualties.
Hamas, on the other hand, uses innocent men, women and children as shields. They have been known to store weapons in schools and hospitals, hoping for casualties so they can blame Israel for these. Hamas does not care about the Palestinians living in Gaza. Hamas hopes the civilians in Gaza will be hurt so they can use the injuries and deaths for a propaganda advantage.
Hamas has constructed elaborate concrete-reinforced tunnels into Israel so they can launch terrorist attacks inside Israel. Has Israel constructed such tunnels into Gaza? Has Israel launched any attacks without provocation?
Hamas has a philosophy of death. Their philosophy has nothing to do with life on this Earth; that philosophy values death over life and their fighters hope for rewards in the hereafter. Those who support Hamas are supporting that same philosophy.
NELL S. KROEGER
Take another look at 1947 deal
RE: (LETTER) “Adhere to 1947 UN agreement”
The letter of Robert Stearns, Aug. 12, so properly titled, is erroneous in its details. The relevant historical facts are:
1. In 1921, Britain gave 78 percent of its land mandate in Palestine to the Arabs. It was called Trans-Jordan, today’s Jordan.
2. On Nov. 29, 1947, the General Assembly of the U.N. passed Resolution 181 to partition the remaining land of Palestine – west of the Jordan river – into a Jewish state and an Arab state.
3. The Jews in Palestine accepted this 1947 partition.
4. The Arabs rejected it. Jamal Husseini, head of their delegation, vowed to “drown this resolution in rivers of blood.” I heard these words with my own ears, in a live radio broadcast from the floor of that assembly.
5. On May 14, 1948,as the British mandate expired, the armies of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, with contingents from Iraq and Saudi Arabia, attacked Israel. The same happened in 1967, 1973, in the numerous intifadas, and in the recent rocket attacks by Hamas from Gaza.
4. Israel’s Declaration of Independence offers a hand in peace to all its neighbors. The charters of the PLO and of Hamas openly call for the destruction of Israel.
5. A “minor” fact, lost on Stearns and many others: The Arab delegation that rejected the Palestinian state in 1947 did not include a Palestinian Arab. In other words, the Palestinian Arabs had no voice in the decision to reject their own state – quite a bitter irony.