Letters: As rockets fly in Israel, wars change only borders

A sign at a demonstration featuring the words “From the river to the sea,” as seen in a photo on Page 3 of Monday’s Tribune, tells the Palestinians’ true aim. It is not peace, not shared borders, not shared regional concerns, but that Israel should disappear totally. That will never happen. It is the Jews’ only true and safe home, and they will fight endlessly to protect it.

History forgotten is why there are too many slogans and not enough understanding. The division of lands all through the 20th century tells the story of needs and identity. The bloody division of India and Pakistan caused death and destruction on a biblical level. Many Middle Eastern and European countries have had borders changed. War changes only borders and does not solve the problems.

The sooner that Palestinians remove that slogan and get rid of their dictators and that the Jewish people, not coalition leaders, take control of their destiny and work with their neighbors, the sooner this problem will resolve itself.

— Joanne Hoffman, Highland Park

I am writing out of a sense of outrage and anger. This past weekend, 1,000 Hamas gunmen burst into Israel from Gaza and killed in cold blood nearly 1,000 civilians, including 260 souls who were simply attending a dance festival, and they took hostage 100 others, including children as young as 5 years old and an 85-year-old woman. In the year 2023. Who, besides the Islamic State, does such a thing? The answer is Hamas and Palestinian gunmen.

For readers who casually observe the Middle East and ask themselves, “Why doesn’t Israel just withdraw and give the Palestinians a homeland?” Israel did a complete withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. Shortly after that, the Palestinians in Gaza chose Hamas to represent them, and 18 years of rockets, mortars and atrocities have resulted. For Hamas, and many other Palestinians, peace is not the objective they have in mind. As this past weekend’s events demonstrate, they want to kill Jews and destroy Israel. That is their goal. How do you make peace with someone who wants you dead?

Invading your neighbors and kidnapping and killing them are not actions of people who understand statehood. What will follow this heinous action by Hamas is more violence and bloodshed. The people who will suffer the most are the people of Gaza. Sad, but a direct result of having Hamas as their leadership.

— Jim Woldenberg, Highland Park

It’s time for America to end its 75 years of enabling Israeli destruction of the Palestinian people.

Israel has exerted an apartheid form of colonial rule that keeps 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza locked up in the world’s largest open-air prison. An Israeli blockade keeps out a lot of food, water and health care, which is starving Gazans and devastating their health. Gazans are frozen in place, allowed neither in nor out.

Inevitably, such abominable domination will produce blowback in the form of armed resistance such as we witnessed this past weekend. If Palestinians cannot choose the way to live, they can choose the way to die.

Even the United Nations General Assembly recognizes the right of people so oppressed to engage in armed struggle against such destructive rule.

Resolution 3314 (1974) passed by the U.N. General Assembly affirms the right of self-determination, freedom, and independence for all “peoples under colonial and racist regimes or other forms of alien domination,” and “the right of these peoples to struggle to that end and to seek and receive support.”

Resolution 37/43 (1982) reaffirms the “inalienable right” of the Palestinian people “and all peoples under foreign and colonial domination to self-determination.” It also reaffirms the legitimacy of “the struggle of peoples for … liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, including armed struggle.”

Under the justification of the responsibility to protect, NATO, led by the U.S., bombed Serbia for 78 days, killing more than 500 civilians. U.S.-led NATO forces bombed Moammar Gadhafi’s Libyan forces to prevent a perceived slaughter by Gadhafi of his own people. Many Libyans were killed or injured.

But there is no responsibly to protect for the Palestinian people. Just the opposite: erasure of the Palestinian people as they suffer likely the worst colonial rule worldwide.

The U.S. should take the lead in first preventing an all-out Israeli invasion of Gaza. Then we should exert our moral leadership to bring Israeli to the court of world public opinion to lift the Gaza blockade and bring to fruition a free and independent Palestinian state.

Anything less is a continued betrayal of every principle of human freedom and dignity that America was created to advance.

Chicago Tribune Opinion


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— Walt Zlotow, West Suburban Peace Coalition, Glen Ellyn

Wars are never a good thing and yet are sometimes justified. In the case of the recent attack by Palestinian forces on Israel, I can’t get past the fact that, at the end of World War II, many Palestinians were displaced to make room for modern-day Israel. There are certainly centuries of complex history in that region, but if I were a Palestinian, I would be deeply angry at Israel for its hegemony and administration, especially over the last 15 to 20 years.

Israel is gradually and intentionally suffocating what’s left of any idea of a Palestine state in the area.

— Mary F. Warren, Wheaton

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