How Israel can defend itself while helping Gazans

To the editor: I agree with Dore Gold, but I would like to respond — not complain — regarding this statement: "Anyone who complains about 'disproportionality' must explain exactly what the [Israeli Defense Forces] should have done to neutralize the terrorist threat from Shajaiya while causing less destruction than what occurred." ("Israel's doctrine of proportionality in Gaza," Op-Ed, July 31)

Israel says that the deaths at United Nations shelters in the Gaza Strip were Hamas' fault. That's not the point.

The point is that there is no safe place in Gaza for innocent people to go. What Israel should do is allow people to leave Gaza and go to refugee camps within Israel. There, it should provide food, water and shelter temporarily to families. Jordan has shown this can be done, as it has taken in more than 600,000 refugees from Syria.

Getting these people out of the way would deprive Hamas of its human shields, make it easier for Israel to find and destroy the rockets and save lives. It would also improve Israel's image in the world.


John Harduvel, Huntington Beach


To the editor: Israel wants to show the world that it has a greater concern for civilians than Hamas does. One way to do so: Keep every part of its security apparatus intact, but allow all medicines, anesthesia and food into Gaza on an unlimited basis.

Israel also claims it is proportional in how it treats terrorists in Israel. But the family of the Palestinian burned alive last month challenged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to prove it. They noted that if a Palestinian is even suspected of terrorism, his entire home is almost always demolished.

Still, Israel's larger point is correct. Israelis made condolence calls to the murdered Palestinian's family; do Arab families reciprocate when Israeli civilians are killed? And Hamas still celebrates those who murder Israeli civilians, and it calls for the destruction of Israel.

Politicians need to hear both peoples declare, "We refuse to be your enemy."

Gene Rothman, Culver City


To the editor: It is disingenuous to suggest that Israel's military had no other options to protect its civilians but to attack the densely populated Gaza neighborhood of Shajaiya, under which Hamas had built sophisticated tunnels and weapons bunkers.

From the tunnels' multiple exit points, Israel could have traced them back and destroyed them at the border, assuring that terrorists could not use them to threaten its citizens. There was no need to risk Palestinian civilian lives.

The real question, however, is Israel's long-term defense and how to prevent new tunnels from being built. Despite their drones and the embargo on supplies imposed on Gaza, Israel was unable to prevent the current tunnels from being built.

Only if Palestinian civilians see proof that Israel truly values their lives will they be less willing to support the likes of Hamas. A "warning" telephone call minutes before an attack when there is nowhere else to go only continues the cycle of violence.

Teresa Cain, San Marcos