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Letters: Israeli-Palestinian bloodshed in focus

Israeli forces' flares light up the night sky

Israeli forces' flares light up the night sky in the northern Gaza Strip, early Saturday, July 19, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers. Photo Credit: AP

For those who question Israel's morality in killing civilians, let us make one thing clear -- as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put it so succinctly, "We use rockets to protect our children while Hamas uses civilians to protect their rockets" ["High toll in Gaza fighting," News, July 21]. Hamas missiles and rockets are hidden in people's homes, in schools, in hospitals, inviting Israel to target those sites.

That Israel has the decency to warn Gazans to evacuate is a fact that is not considered by Israel's critics.

Molly Ratner, Fresh Meadows

As the world cries out for peace, Israel continues its offensive against the Palestinian people while hiding behind the apron strings of the United States, knowing that our politicians would sell their souls before risking the loss of major funding and votes by special-interest groups.

We pump billions of tax dollars into Israel, but refuse to demand fairness and justice in its policies toward people it has treated horribly. It only takes watching and reading the news to see what is really going on. The deaths of three young yeshiva students is the excuse given by Israel to launch an offensive that is akin to shooting fish in a barrel, even though the killers of the teens have never been identified and the Palestinian government helped in the search.

Israel extends the olive branch with one hand as it builds more and more illegal settlements and restricts the flow of basic resources with the other. Palestinians -- including my father, a Methodist minister who had to flee -- have suffered like few other groups. Since the formation of Israel, they have had their homes, land and assets stripped away. Those with the means to leave did so at great financial loss, but many could not or chose not to and now decades later have been imprisoned behind walls. The Gaza Strip has been described as the world's largest outdoor prison, where people are crammed in and denied the basics of human life. Doctors and others must smuggle in medical supplies and food from Egypt.

The extremists on both sides must be stopped. So what does this all mean? It falls to people of peace worldwide to bind together for justice.

Marie Khoury Polifrone, Hewlett

We don't understand where President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are coming from regarding Hamas and Israel.

They initially sound good, saying that Israel, our longtime ally and the only democracy in the Middle East, has a right to defend itself from the hundreds of long-range missiles Hamas has been hurtling into the civilian populations in Israeli cities.

On the other hand, Obama and Kerry tell Israel to be careful not to harm the civilians the Hamas terrorists hide behind. Israel warns the civilians in Gaza when they'll be attacking so they can flee. However, Hamas warns the civilians to stay put so the world can condemn Israel for killing them, while the terrorists hide among them.

In addition, I'm perplexed that the president used his influence to lift sanctions imposed on Iran, which has been supplying these rockets to Hamas and Hezbollah. Of course Iran is also intent on the destruction of Israel.

Bottom line, the U.S. administration is no friend to Israel.

Marty Orenstein, New Hyde Park

Your July 19 news story "Targeting tunnels" is accompanied by two photos: Israeli troops in Gaza, and a crying Palestinian child.

The juxtaposition of the photos created an inescapable subliminal message that Israel causes distress for innocent children and Palestinians generally. The fact is that the tunnels, rocket aggression from Gaza and Hamas' terroristic quest for sympathy caused the child's cries.

Blame, fears, tears and grief exist on both sides of the border. Stop projecting Hamas' photo-op propaganda.

Bernard Sosnick, Melville