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Letters to the Editor

January 17, 2009

Just tell the truth



To the editor:

Being an opinion page editor must be one of the most difficult jobs in the world. No matter what the editor does, he knows that he is going to offend somebody.

The poor fellow sits on the proverbial hot seat eight hours a day, five days a week. You have to feel sorry for the guy.

No subject is more fraught with peril for an editor than that of the Middle East. So what's a fellow to do? Here is my suggestion, for what it is worth. Tell the truth and let the chips fall where they may.

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Let readers know that over seven years, a mere 13 Israelis have been killed by Qassam rockets. Let them know that the Israelis caused more fatalities than that in the first 15 minutes of the most recent incursion into Gaza.

Let readers know that every place hit by a Qassam rocket belonged to Palestinians before it was seized from them. In every one of those places Israelis are living on, farming on, building houses, offices and factories on what is, in reality, Palestinian land.

Quote moderate Jews such as Anton Kuerti, the internationally acclaimed concert pianist, who said, "Israel's behavior makes me ashamed of being a Jew, and Canada's servile support of the United States position - (that) "it's all Hamas' fault" - makes me ashamed of being a Canadian."

Quote Jewish Voice for Peace, "Israel's slow strangulation of Gaza through blockade has caused widespread suffering to the 1.5 million people of Gaza due to lack of food, electricity, water treatment supplies and medical equipment. It is a violation of humanitarian law and has been widely condemned around the world."

Some people will be unhappy with you. But take comfort in what an ancient sage once said. "It is better to be condemned for telling the truth than to be loved for telling a lie."

G.F. Miller
Hagerstown




Living in daily fear



To the editor:

There would be no need for The Herald-Mail to publish a letter called "Israel, an evil cancerous growth in the Middle East (Zachary Bennett, Jan. 8). Israel is a democratic state with a population made up not only of Jews, many of them refugees from Arab countries who expelled their Jewish citizens after taking their property, but also of 13 percent Arabs who have the same rights as their Jewish compatriots and are represented in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament. It is also a country whose citizens can write the following, and I quote from a friend:

When was the last time you ran for your life to a shelter to avoid being bombed?

When was the last time when your children were terrorized to the point where they wet their beds even at the ages of 6 and 7?

When was the last time you realized your child will need a psychologist to help overcome his/her fears of loud noises and sirens?

When was the last time your house had a near miss of a rocket fired at you, or worse, had your house crumble under the impact of a mortar shell?

When was the last time you could not tend your crops because the last time you went out to your fields you were fired on by snipers?

When was the last time that your child saw your neighbor lying in a pool of blood?

When was the last time you checked to see if your child's kindergarten had a bomb shelter and if not you took the child to another kindergarten which had one?

When was the last time you made sure your child had an armed escort when he/she went on a school outing?

When was the last time your government decided to spend money on bomb shelters in your town?

When was the last time your neighboring country swore to wipe you off the face of the earth and does not recognize your right to exist?

For the last eight years, which are 96 straight months, the southern part of Israel (population around 250,000) has had over 22,000 rockets and mortars fired into its cities, an average of eight a day.

There is no child in Sderot under the age of 10 who knows any other existence than that of daily fear of a bomb falling on his house, school, or shopping mall. How would you feel if this happened in your town and to your children?

When we left Gaza, with the small industrial works and the very modern and sophisticated greenhouses intact, at the request of the world community so that the Palestinians would have the ability to support themselves, they destroyed all of these down to rubble. This has to mean they had little intention of trying to help their population to self-reliance and the country to some income.

What is this nonsense about "excessive force?" We have our peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan, while we are shelled on a daily basis by a group of terrorists. How long can any country stand this? No one asked Joe Louis to fight all comers with one hand behind his back because he was stronger than his opponents, and no one has asked Michael Jordan to shoot only with his left hand, because he was so much better than all other basketball players.

Hamas does not recognize us or our borders.

Hamas has sworn to continue to attack us until we drop.

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