Despite being thankful for the gossamer truce between Israel and Hamas, columnist Peter Goldmark casts a cautious eye on the Middle East's most volatile tinderbox ["Clinging to hope in the Mideast," Opinion, Nov. 25].
Hamas has been emboldened by successfully fighting Israel to a standstill before the cease-fire. More ominously, this militant fundamentalist group's rockets were able to penetrate Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, imperiling innocent civilians. Islamic Jihad is also fast becoming a factor in the Palestinian equation. And Iran's munitions and machinations should give Israel's Netanyahu administration pause.
But Israel's Operation Pillar of Defense has taken a horrifying toll on the people of Gaza. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman openly calls for ethnic cleansing. According to Interior Minister Eli Yishai: "The goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages. Only then will Israel be calm for 40 years."
Given Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's conciliatory trial balloons before the conflict, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should transcend ideology and announce a permanent freeze on all settlements, propose an enterprise development plan to help jump-start the Palestinian economy, and publicly accept east Jerusalem as the future capital of Palestine.
Rosario A. Iaconis, Mineola
Editor's note: The writer is an adjunct professor of economics and critical thinking at Briarcliffe College.