Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor

Readers respond

(Photo from Flash90)
(Photo from Flash90)

Those seeking peace should be urging Hamas to release the hostages and surrender
I disagree with Janice H. Gordon (“A call for a ‘cease-fire now,’” March 15). Israel is not seeking to retaliate against Hamas for the atrocities inflicted on Israelis (and others) on Oct. 7. Israel is fighting to ensure that Hamas will not be able to keep its promise to continue inflicting such depravities in the future. Because Palestinians, in Gaza and elsewhere, cheered the joyous reports of the “Al Aqsa Flood,” which Hamas terrorists proudly circulated, Israel has correctly concluded that Gaza must be demilitarized and the Palestinians must be deradicalized.

While many people have been fooled by anti-Israel propaganda, Hamas’ lies are easily refuted. Israel has not been bombing Gaza indiscriminately nor has the IDF been targeting innocent civilians. The Hamas ministry of health openly admits that its reported casualty figures do not distinguish between civilian and combatant deaths. What it doesn’t mention is that anti-Jewish rhetoric spews from Palestinian classrooms, mosques and media outlets; that Palestinian cartoon shows encourage young children to seek martyrdom by killing Jews; that Hamas runs summer camps where teenagers are given weapons and taught to use them; that Hamas has sent women with explosives strapped to their bodies (under their modest clothing) to attempt to maim and kill Israeli soldiers whom they approach.

Both John Spencer, a professor at West Point’s Modern War Institute, and Col. Richard Kemp, former commander of the British Expeditionary Forces in Afghanistan, have praised Israel for managing to have killed fewer than two civilians for each combatant killed in the current war against Hamas; they note that a ratio of nine civilian deaths for each combatant killed is more typical in the kind of urban fighting that is occurring in the densely populated enclave. The sad fact is that Hamas’ hiding of weapons and munitions in homes, hospitals, mosques and tunnels built under residential buildings guarantees that Israel’s exemplary efforts to avoid killing civilians simply cannot be 100% effective.

It is nearly two decades since Israel signed the Oslo Accords, affording Palestinians the opportunity to live under the administration of leaders of their own choosing. Israel even removed all security personnel and Jewish communities from Gaza. But Hamas made no attempt to build a state in which Palestinians could become productive citizens. Hamas says an Israeli blockade kept it from developing Gaza’s economy. But Spencer estimates that Hamas spent $1 billion in constructing its extensive network of terror tunnels! And Hamas continues to steal 60% of the humanitarian aid that Israel and other Western countries are trying to get to the people of Gaza.

Israel is not retaliating; Israel needs to defeat Hamas definitively so the process of demilitarizing Gaza and deradicalizing the Palestinians can begin. True seekers of peace should be urging Hamas to release the hostages and surrender so the first steps can be taken on the long road to peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Toby F. Block
Atlanta, Georgia

Chronicle poll questions should highlight similarities, celebrate differences
Pittsburgh is known around the world for its Jewish unity. When I moved here with my family in 1990, that was one of the first things we noticed and made us feel at home. And Jewish unity is a theme that is on everyone’s mind since Oct 7.

The Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle is in a position of power, responsibility and opportunity when it comes to facilitating Jewish unity in Pittsburgh and beyond. When the Chronicle asks the community members for their opinion on divisive topics that have no impact, it creates divisions and people begin to feel excluded. Imagine the individual who holds the minority opinion when they see that 88% of respondents to the poll believe that Haredi Jews should be conscripted into the IDF. Surely they do not feel the warm sense of inclusion. And nothing was gained by the majority (“Chronicle poll results: Conscription of Haredi Jews into IDF,” March 15).

I am calling upon the Jewish Chronicle to grab this opportunity to create greater unity by using this platform to ask questions that highlight our similarities, common ground and provide ways to celebrate our differences, creating and maintaining the wonderful sense of connection that is the hallmark of Pittsburgh.

Chani Silver

read more: