Of course we want all Israeli citizens, and Arabs too, to be safe and free to lead their lives in security. However, there are some positive points to these continuous attacks, despite the sadness of deaths of Israeli citizens, the suffering, the destructions, economic losses, and keeping millions in shelters for days.
Here are some important positive points:
1. Up to now no one knew for sure what destruction capabilities the Gaza terrorists have. The Israeli military has now direct facts to plan their countermeasures and next moves.
2. The Israelis in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem now are a little more aware what the Israeli communities near Gaza have been under for years and are more likely to support a stronger response from the government.
3. Internationally, it is obvious now, for even obstructionist, that the danger emanating from Gaza is not just a little agitation of a small number of people in Southern Israel. Israel has now a stronger political leverage to attack the terror centers in Gaza.
4. It opened the door for the Israeli military to finally respond to the accumulation of more destructive weapons smuggled from Libya. Until this attacks Israel military knew about the danger of the newer, longer range rockets, but could not do much about it. It could not just fly into Gaza and bombed the appropriate sites. Now the Israeli Air Force can fly with clear justification to bomb every site they see fit to destroy.
These points are eminently important to reduce future threats from Hamas and its associate terrorists groups. It also teaches Israel what must be done in Lebanon with Hezbollah.
Dear Mr. Leavenworth,
It is so sad that The Sacramento Bee has been distorting the struggle between Israel and its Arab neighbors for years. And now again, the Bee has been distorting the situation in Gaza/Israel and turning it upside down. Israel left the area years ago, and continue to supply them with water, food and electricity. In return the Gazans people are supporting the continuous rocket attacks on Israel. And Hamas is the leader, allowing and participating in this murderous attacks.
Any typical reader who look at the Bee get the impression that the Israeli are attacking the "poor-innocent" people in Gaza while the facts are that terrorists from Gaza have been shelling Israel with some 150 rockets in the last few days, murdered 3 Israelis and injures dozens more. By the title you represent on the front page: ISRAEL KILLS HAMMAS LEADER, you give the clear impression is Israel is an aggressor attacking Hamas, while the facts are the opposite.
Then your 2 pictures in the back do not show any of the casualties or the damage caused Israelis by the instigators, the Gazans terrorists but show a dubious picture of a possible child victim. Look at the people' expressions, all but the "father" are in facts wondering, curious may be, this could be a setup as many pictures from the Arab world are. This is so one sided and distorted that as a professional you should be ashamed of continuing the Bee decade long distortion of the Israeli/Palestinian facts. I will put this letter on my blog below for wider, global distribution: http://www.zionismontheweb.org/blogs/index.php?blog=12
Dr. Matania Ginosar
Environ. Scientist & Electrical Engineer
In the same way that anti-Semitism was not created by the conduct of the Jews, but by millennia old hatred of Christianity towards the Jews, it is quite clear that the anti- Israeli attitude is not due to the conduct of Israel but to the desire and need of the Muslims and Arabs to create a “cause” to justify their weak moral and anti-Democratic standing in the world.
It is not the conduct of the hated that creates and drives the haters!
A personal story in memory of my leader Prime Minister Itzhak Shamir
The three Lechi Underground leaders, the energetic, thoughtful, Itzhak Shamir, contemplative Natan Yelline -Mur, and the elderly, but feisty Dr. Shieb, were seating in rickety chairs, on the sand in front of me, while I placed the microphone on the small folding table before them. They were fidgety, clearly uneasy to be so exposed, after their many years hiding from the British and spending years in jails.
(Lechi = Lohamai-Herut Israel, Fighters for the Freedom of Israel).
I stood two feet behind them adjusting the amplifier to get maximum sound in that open natural theater, in Lechi’s largest military base- Shech Munes. Tall cypress trees bordered the open, sandy grounds and the place was lovely and peaceful. I smiled to myself remembering that just a few months earlier, I had been nearly blown up in that very spot by a huge, accidental truck explosion full of old dynamite. Just a few minutes before I had looked into the trucks, and saw the dangerous, oozing dynamite, so I had sped quickly away, in time to miss the big fireball.
This was the one and only full gathering of our Lechi members, after years of hiding underground from British forces: a very rare event for all of us. Some 700 young men and women stood in a huge semi circle facing the three leaders. Old friends were chatting with friends they had not seen for years and even had not known were in Lechi together. In the underground we were divided to small cells with code names so it would be hard, even under torture, to get the whereabouts of other Lechi members. And here we were, all together in the open. When I had joined Lechi four years earlier, at fifteen, we had less than two hundred members sparsely spread all over Israel.
Not only that, few had ever seen our well known, highly respected, even revered, but rarely seen, leaders alone. Now, here they were all three of them together, in the open.
It was a final act, on this May 29, just two weeks after the State of Israel was declared, on May 14, 1948, we were now adding most Lechi members to the newly organized Israel Defense forces, IDF. Israel needed every available person; we were under severe Arab armies’ attacks from all sides.
Our Shech Munes base, a rural setting, was just an hour from the busy metropolitan city of Tel Aviv. It was previously the vast holding of an Arab Muchtar, a rich leader of his tribe. As soon as we had heard that they left the area, we took it for our base of operation and training.
I knew many of the Lechi members since our home was a clandestine center of Lechi activities. My older brother Pinhas was a senior Lechi member and from time to time used our fourth floor apartment at 115 Rothschild Blvd, for operation planning. That was where I met Itzhak Shamir the first time disguised as a heavily bearded Rabbi. That disguise did not help him; he was arrested later despite it. Pinhas and many other Lechi members were not in the this parade. They were on a British ship returning from detention in British Africa to the new Israel.
Despite the war 50 members of Lechi got deferment from immediate military service to create a political party led by Shamir. I was one of this group who got military deferment, selected for future technical operations. I just finished a year of operating the Lechi second underground transmitter then, much of it from our family’s apartment.
All of us felt somewhat strange, uneasy, with the breaking up of the underground, with our solitary lives full of daily danger; now we were going into national military service, with its heavy toll of young people. During the years I was in Lechi and the War of Independence, a quarter of all my friends, from Lechi, and schools died in the this period. Yes, one in four of my friends died to get Israel independence!
In this “parade” our Lechi troops attempted to dress in military-like uniform but lacked military discipline so the lines were not straight, and their shoulders were not pulled back in a military style. But what they lacked in polish they had in determination and dedication. The Lechi group joined the Dayan Brigade and fought bravely, with many casualties, to liberate Israeli territories.
But we did not know that yet.
I looked at these 700 brave members who joined Lechi to fight for freedom and who would have given their lives without hesitation to fight the British forces if Itzhak Shamir would have asked them to. We admired him, revered him and would have followed his orders willingly, we trusted him so much. An unassuming 32 year old, small humble man, with unlimited courage, honesty, fully dedicated to Israel.
As the three leaders were talking quietly getting ready for the formal event, I heard Yellin-Mur, our political specialist, complaining with some irritation as I placed the microphone closer to them to improve the sound in that open space: ”I do not like this setting,” he said, “ I don’t like microphones.” Shamir, with a steady quiet, but clear voice, looked at him and said: “You better get used to microphones; these are our new weapons now.”
Tom Friedman is an excellent writer and also a biased writer. At least as far as Israel goes. He has not change his views over the decades of the Israeli/Arab situation no matter how solid, repetitive facts proved him wrong numerous times.
We also must realize that because some one writes well, we are inclined to have an aura around them and believe they are right. There is a drastic difference between writing well and the validity of the writer’s views. But we are by nature, inclined to associate the two. The same way we associate a tall attractive man with knowledge and capabilities, even before we know a thing about him.
Most Israeli top leaders made mistakes, some of them serious misjudgments about the willingness of the Palestinians to live in peace with Israel. But Israel is not the sole obstacle to peace as Tom Friedman often asserts. He has great difficulty seeing the rocket attacks on Israelis civilians from Gaza, for example. Many Israeli decisions that he opposed were necessary to reduce the casualties of Israeli citizens and communities. But Freidman’s views do not take this into account.
He can not do it any other way. He is willingly stuck in a position that gives him fame and power and thus economic success. How? By being Jewish and finding Israel wrong in almost all cases. His notoriety is based on his continuous criticism of Israel despite being Jewish. If he would have wrote in favor of Israeli positions he would lose his so called “objectivity.” After all he is Jewish and you expect him to be pro Israel. By being Jewish and continuously finding faults in the actions of all Israeli governments and telling Israel to give more land and more freedom of movement to terrorists, he is standing, in the unaware reader’s mind, for what is “right” and “supports peace.”
He is boxed in; he can not make unbiased observations about Israel since his trademark is finding faults with most Israeli actions.
Next time you read Tom Friedman’s article criticizing Israeli policies, look carefully for the anti-Israeli terms he often uses bordering on prejudice, or more. And understand why he writes the way he does.