Letters for August 17, 2006

Pity American ignorance
Re “Pity Lebanon,” (Guest comment, Aug. 3):

I was very surprised that political science professor Richard Siegel knows so little about Middle East politics. There is nothing as tragic as innocent people getting killed or injured, but the main issue is the terror organization—Hezbollah. We all should understand the reasons why Israel fights in Lebanon. Israel withdrew from Lebanon six years ago and was willing to negotiate with the Palestinians in order to end the Israel-Palestine conflict. Yet it seems there are no partners for peace! A few weeks after Israel withdrew from Gaza, southern cities were under attack by Kassam missiles that were shot from Gaza. Israel found itself under attack from both Hezbollah and Palestinians. I believe every country has the right to defend itself, and Israel is no exception. In these circumstances, Israel had no alternative but to defend itself and its citizens.

Israel is the main country in the Middle East that prevents terror groups from making the Middle East into a radical and dangerous area, and by doing so, Israel fights for all the free world.

Professor Siegel implies a disproportionate Israel response, but proportionality must be measured in terms of threat. Hezbollah’s leader, Hasan Nasralla, declared more than once its goal to destroy Israel, and now the world knows it’s not just words. Hezbollah and its support from Syria and Iran use the Lebanese people as human shields. Syria’s support includes the transfer of arms, munitions and operatives through the Damascus airport and border crossings into Lebanon. The Hezbollah would not be able to operate in Lebanon without clear Syrian sponsorship. As for Iran, it operates as the main benefactor of the Hezbollah. It provides funding, weapons, directives and even Iranian cadre (the ‘Pasdaran’ Revolutionary Guards) for this terrorist organization. Most of the missiles that hit the Israeli cities were manufactured by Iran.

I pity every American who doesn’t see the Hezbollah and its supporters, Iran and Syria, as major threats to our nation.

Miri Ben-Shmuel

Pity Israeli innocents
Re “Pity Lebanon,” (Guest comment, Aug. 3):

Richard Siegel asks us to pity Lebanon. While I do feel for the innocents who are forced to remain and bear the brunt of Israel’s attempts to destroy the threat that Hezbollah poses to them, I would ask Mr. Siegel if Hezbollah has done everything it can to spare the poor people of Lebanon? Have they surrendered their arms, as was a condition of the Israeli pullout some years back and sanctioned by the United Nations with a resolution? Well, gee, I guess not, as bombs from Lebanon continue to fall into Israeli civilian towns, loaded with shrapnel, ball bearings, etc., engineered to inflict the most damage once they’ve landed in a fiery heap. Surprise, these rockets seem to come from Iran, whose president has stated repeatedly that Israel has no right to exist. And since Mr. Siegel wishes to go back to the Six Day War of 1967, wasn’t it anti-Israeli aggression that caused Israel to go to war then too? Have they not tried to give back land for peace?

If Mr. Siegel wishes for America to garner favor with the Muslim countries that surround Israel, the Divided States would simply have to renounce all support for Israel. And for its part, Israel would simply have to cease to exist. Problem solved; instant peace.

Bill Thibault

We’re making the bombs
Re “If I were running Israel,” (Right Hook, Aug. 10):

While Mr. Lafferty expresses his approval for unrestrained violence by the Israeli military against Lebanon and its displacement of more than a million of its people, he should keep in mind some important facts: The government of Israel has annexed 8 percent of West Bank territory (equivalent to the state of Texas in the United States); is withholding $50 million a month of taxes legitimately owed to the Palestinian government; has closed the border crossing at Karni, costing the Palestinian citizenry $500,000 a day; has bombed the main generating plant in Gaza, leaving half of the 1.3 million citizens without electricity.

Now the United States is paying for and producing bombs that Israel uses to kill Lebanese citizens. Our government can continue to dismiss Hezbollah and Hamas as terrorist organizations, although they both have positions of power in their respective countries in part due to democratic elections. Our military adventure in Iraq has had tragic consequences for all. It’s time to start a dialogue with the above groups, including Syria and Iran. Failure to do so will lead to further deterioration of our international standing and negative consequences for all involved.

Mark Glenn
via e-mail