Smoke rises during an Israeli strike on Rafah in the...

Smoke rises during an Israeli strike on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Friday, after fighting resumed between Israel and the Hamas. Credit: TNS/Said Khatib/AFP

Much of the international media describes these transactions as an exchange of captives, implying some sort of humanitarian equivalence [“Israel, Hamas complete more swaps,” News, Nov. 29].

But the Palestinian “captives“ released by Israel are terrorists who have been arrested or convicted of stabbing, shootings, car ramming or other murder attempts.

They likely will return to their terrorist activities upon release. What crime did 10-month-old Kfir Bibas or 4-year-old Abigail Edan commit? The “captives” released by Hamas are all innocent women and children who were brutally abducted. In what moral universe is there any equivalence between the two?

Israel is releasing three terrorists for every innocent civilian released. They are allowing truckloads of fuel into Gaza, knowing that Hamas will steal as much as possible to fuel its rockets aimed at Israeli civilians. This will almost certainly result in more Israeli casualties.

— Fonda Leibowitz, Plainview

The United States has told Israel that any ground campaign in southern Gaza must limit further civilian displacement.

Imagine if the Canadian people desire the entire United States as their homeland. Day after day, Canada’s Armed Forces — positioned in schools, hospitals, and mosques — fire rockets on civilian locations in Washington, Montana and North Dakota while suicide bombers infiltrate shopping malls and cafes in New York, Vermont, and Maine.

One day, the Canadians launch a sneak attack on Michigan and behead, burn and slaughter 1,200 men, women and babies and kidnap 240 more. All the while, otherwise innocent Canadians celebrate the destruction of American life and chant “From Thunder Bay to the Florida Keys, Canada will be free!”

What would America do to protect its citizens? Exactly what Israel is doing to protect its citizens.

— Josh Kardisch, East Meadow

I get the impression that those who criticize Israel have little idea what they are talking about. They misuse words like colonizing, apartheid, genocide and war crimes. Do they have any idea what happened in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973? Do they know about the deaths at the 1972 Olympics in Germany? Do they know about the intifada or pogroms? I have not heard any criticism of Israel and the Jewish people that sounds well-informed about the horrors that have been perpetrated against them.

— Ralph Daino, Wantagh

A reader wrote that, with respect to the parties’ inability to agree on a two-state solution, “The greatest issue . . . is that about a half million Jewish settlers now live in the West Bank . . . ” [“Israelis, Palestinians must agree on peace,” Letters, Nov. 26].

Actually, the greatest issue for decades has been the unwillingness of numerous Arab and Palestinian leaders and their populace to accept Israel’s very existence and the right of the Jewish people to have a state.

Had those leaders been willing to accept Israel at its modern-day creation or each time a two-state solution was a realistic possibility, they could have lived in peace side by side. The West Bank settlement “issue” would not exist today.

Peace will be possible only when the movement to eliminate the Jewish/Israel presence in the Middle East is left behind.

— Howard Kaufman, Plainview

Can you imagine the outpouring of people if our protesters chose to unite and focus on our similarities rather than our differences [“ ‘A grave injustice,’ ” News, Nov. 27]?

We know from history and experience that warfare and hate bring tragedy and destruction to everyone and everything. We all share planet Earth, its air and water. We are all human and have the need to feel safe. We require the same basic needs of food, clothing and shelter.

For a change, let’s give peace a chance and focus on all that we share in common. Peace on Earth and goodwill to everyone is a dream, but people everywhere can make it become a reality.

— Holly Gordon, Bay Shore

Our hearts are breaking over the horrific Hamas massacre of Oct. 7 and abduction of 240 innocent humans. Would the world expect Israel to sit on its hands? And yet the photo with the article “Israeli cease-fire, hostage deal” [News, Nov. 22] shows a wounded Palestinian child following an Israeli strike.

Is it necessary to add to the anti-Israel sentiment and antisemitism that has already become so prevalent? Does Israel not have the right to defend her citizens?

— Anna Edelstein, Baldwin

I am appalled by the reactions of some of my “progressive” friends to the Hamas pogrom and the Israeli reaction in Gaza. They incredibly gloss over, forget or suddenly minimize the savage slaughter of the modern-day pogrom and hostage-taking, by saying Hamas’ attack was somehow justified and a valid reaction to the lack of a peace deal, and that Israel is overreacting.

They condemn Israel for daring to react to the slaughter of its people, and the worst pogrom in decades is somehow forgotten. Are terrorists suddenly the new heroes?

— Michael Kaufman, St. James

It is important to note that when there is a pro-Israel rally, it is peaceful and non-violent. Some pro-Palestinian rallies tend to be disruptive, sometimes violent. Let us not forget that on 9/11, many Arabs in the Middle East rejoiced and partied at the death of Americans.

On Oct. 7, many Arabs rejoiced at the death of Jews. As the hostages were recently released into the West Bank, chants arose in praise of Hamas and death to the Jews.

During World War II, who came to the aid of the Jews? Now that Israel has an Army, the world calls for a proportional response mixed with restraint. “Never again” should mean “never again.”

— Peter Falconi, Huntington Station

When I recently held my two grandsons, I ached for all the grandparents in Israel who didn’t have their grandchildren to hold and cuddle with.

What did Israeli families do to deserve the events of that horrible Oct. 7 morning? Israel has responded to make sure these attacks are the last ones that southern Israel will endure.

I’m reminded of the words of Lutheran Pastor Martin Niemöller after his imprisonment by the Nazis in World War II:

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a socialist.

“Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a trade unionist.

“Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Jew.

“Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.”

— Eileen Fleischman, Plainview

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