“In the callousness of Hamas” editorial (Nov. 20), Mr. Cohen uses erroneous facts to justify Israel’s current bombing of Gaza. The launching of rockets into Israel is wrong, but they rarely do significant damage and are usually in response to Israeli assassinations and incursions into Gaza.
Since the conflict of 2008-09 (when Israel killed approximately 1,400 Gazans versus 13 Israelis), 271 Palestinians, per Israeli human rights organization B’tselem, have been killed by Israeli air strikes; zero Israelis killed by Palestinian rockets.
If Mr. Cohen were correct that Israel cares more about civilian life than Hamas, then how does he explain the above facts? The current conflict was preceded by Israeli soldiers crossing the border and killing a 13-year-old boy in Gaza. Palestinians then fired rockets at an Israeli jeep. Israel then assassinated Gaza’s military leader Ahmad Jabari. Reportedly, Jabari was in cease-fire talks and was involved in the release of Gilad Shalit.
Hamas is an organization which has a political and a military arm. Mr. Cohen contends it is out to destroy Israel. In July 2009, Khaled Meshal, Hamas’ political bureau chief, said “the organization was willing to cooperate with a resolution to the Arab-Israel conflict, which included a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders ... and that East Jerusalem be the new nation’s capitol.”
Israel is the aggressor with its superior military (much financed by the U.S.’s $ 3 billion-plus annual military aid to Israel), not the victim of Hamas. Hamas was elected in 2006 because it provided food, education and medical care.
Gaza is still under occupation, even though Israeli troops and settlers left in 2005, as Israel continues to control Gaza’s airspace, borders, flow of goods and people which is a form of collective punishment. What population would put up with such treatment without retaliation?
Israel has imprisoned the 1.7 million Gaza Palestinian Arabs in this narrow 25-mile strip of land since 1967. From my time in the region, it was clear that the Israeli government wants all Arabs to leave so Israel can have all the land from the Mediterranean to the Jordan Valley.
The Israeli occupation of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem needs to end, as does the U.S. unconditional support for Israel for there to be peace. Contrary to Mr. Cohen’s editorial, Hamas is not the lone callous party — so is Israel.