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As the Gaza operation enters its eighth week, black smoke rises after an Israeli strike hits Gaza City on August 23, 2014. Credit: AP

The world is watching us

In response to “The stage that comes after force” (Yigal Elam, Opinion, Aug 12).Yigal Elam’s erudite, succinct yet comprehensive review of the Israeli-Arab “conflict since the establishment of the Israeli state” concludes with the examination of Israel in the light of contemporary social (Western) norms; we are a normal part of the (Western) world and should behave accordingly.

But, we are not a normal part of the world. The analysis is made on the background of the scenes from the ongoing confrontation. Scene 1: my not yet 3-year-old nephew squatting on the grass at the mere sound of a flying airplane, the tiny body, the tiny hands sheltering his head. Scene 2, on the other side of the fence: a TV screen of a group of Gazans leaving behind their houses to be bombed soon; they cling to a briefcase, a purse, a bundle on the head, a shadow of an ashamed smile. A few days later they return to the debris of what was once, a few days ago, their home. Our great strategists, after waging these Napoleonic wars in Lebanon, and in Gaza, still did not recall that scorched earth is not the key to victory.

We are not a normal part of the world because unfortunately we choose to live not in obscure Uganda; we are firmly settled on the very center of the world, the “cradle” of the three monotheistic religions, in full spotlight. We cannot ask for anonymity while the world is watching us, the keeper of its most cherished spiritual heritage. We should be very careful in what we do. We have to put an end to the armed conflict by granting Gazan citizens the elementary right to a dignified life in freedom, personal as well as national, in return for demilitarization under international supervision.

Dr. Ruth Sharon

Tutu’s contemptible views

In response to “My plea to Israel: Free yourselves by liberating Palestine” (Desmond Tutu, August 17). Desmond Tutu’s views on Jews and Israel remain as contemptible as ever. His “Free yourselves” piece is absolute rubbish. He needs to free himself of his unsupportable, anti-Israel imaginations. Israel doesn’t practice apartheid; it doesn’t seek to suppress or oppress Palestinians. On the contrary, it has repeatedly made peace offers that have always been summarily rejected by the Palestinians.

Were Tutu truly interested in “turn[ing] the tide against violence and hatred,” he would fulminate against the vile, racist incitement that is a constant in Palestinian media – and, of course, at the core of the Hamas charter. Beyond shilling for the morally bankrupt, insidious BDS movement, he misdirects his call for a “mind-set shift.” It’s one that the Palestinians, not the Israelis, desperately need. Whatever indignities they now suffer, it’s due to their support of terrorism and lack of support for a reasonable solution to the conflict. That’s readily at hand. They need only repudiate those three noxious no’s: to recognition of Israel as a legitimate, sovereign Jewish Mideast state, to renunciation of “right of return” claims from real refugees and their multi-generational descendants, and to declaration of an end to the conflict. Sadly, that’s nowhere in sight.

Richard D. Wilkins
Syracuse, New York

Multi-talented Mira

In response to “Where do we go from here?" (Mira Awad, Opinion, August 15). Mira Awad’s article was a brilliant, witty and thought provoking. How is it that at the end of the article she wrote “Mira Awad is a musician”? Mira Awad is a musician, writer, philosopher and social commentator. Give credit where credit is due.

Eve Finkelstein
Beit Shemesh