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(Photo from Flash90)
(Photo from Flash90)

Force works
This is in response to Dennis Jett’s letter of Nov. 17.

Mr. Jett raises the adage about the definition of insanity (doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result), but I submit that the objective of the current response of Israel is nothing like what its objective was in response to previous attacks by Hamas. As Jett writes, Israel thought hitting back “hard enough” would deter “future murderous
assaults. It didn’t, it won’t”!

But crushing the enemy in a war (rather than bombing an empty chemical factory in the desert, for example) might bring peace. That is what happened with Germany and Japan after World War II and, I might say, with Egypt after the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

I ask, which has a better chance for true peace in the near future between Israel and the Palestinians — a ceasefire and some kind of agreement between the parties to agree on a two-state solution or to crush Hamas and extend the Abrahamic agreement to regional parties and work with them and the Palestinians to work something out? I submit that nothing can/will be solved until Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and the other “from the river to the sea” groups are eliminated.

Jack Mennis
Allison Park

An alternate view
I was pleased to see that the Chronicle recently published a letter by Eileen Yacknin which provided an alternative view on the current war in Israel-Gaza. It is important to remind people that the Jewish community is not of one mind on this issue.
In my own Jewish peer group, I have friends who feel that Israel has no choice but to conduct a war in Gaza as it is doing. I have other friends who were equally shaken by the atrocities of Oct. 7 but would like the Israeli response tempered to decrease the deaths of innocent Palestinians. And I have still other Jewish friends who simply cannot accept that thousands of Gazans, including huge numbers of children, have been killed “in our name.”

The latter group was represented on Oct. 18, when 5,000 Jews came together on the National Mall in Washington demanding an immediate ceasefire. I was there. A subgroup of the protesters 400 people — including 25 rabbis — staged a peaceful sit-in in a Capitol office building.

These groups, along with non-Jewish supporters, have been attacked by both parties in Congress, the White House and around the country. We have been accused of being naive at best and antisemitic at worst.

The accusation that these views represent antisemitism is galling to those of us who raise our families Jewish, go to shul regularly and light candles on Friday night. It is reminiscent of when a president, after 9/11, said “You’re either with us or with the terrorists.” We now know that this call to “loyalty” and military action in Iraq and Afghanistan didn’t turn out so well.

We Jews who share these views are repulsed by the atrocities committed by Hamas on Oct. 7 and by the Israeli military since then. Watching civilian families blown apart — their homes, hospitals and schools destroyed, their lifelines severed — offends our understanding of Jewish morality. Most families in Israel and Gaza want what all of us want — food, shelter, medical care, the raising of healthy children and economic security. Their killings are beyond tragic.

What of the accusation of naïveté? My answer is: Look back at the cycle of violence over the decades. Do you really believe that somehow this war — unlike all the others — will bring that to an end?

To build a strong and safe future for all human beings in that land, we need to think outside the box. For example, one proposal that has been put forth by some Israelis and Palestinians is for a regional federation of two states based on democracy, freedom of movement, settlement of refugee claims and guaranteed rights for all. There would need to be leaders who are committed to reconciliation and repentance.

One can call these views naive, but I look at what’s been going on for the past 75 years and ask: Isn’t there a better way?

Robert Kraftowitz
Point Breeze

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