Readers React: In Gaza, the death of a 10-month-old baby is something other than a tragedy to our readers

GAZA CITY, GAZA -- TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2018: Mariam Mahmud Ahmed Ghandour, mourns her child, Laila Anwa
Mariam Ghandour, 18, holds the body of her 10-month-old daughter Layla.
(Los Angeles Times)

In nearly every instance, the untimely death of an infant prompts expressions of profound grief and sympathy. But the ongoing violence in the Gaza Strip, against the backdrop of the Trump administration reversing decades of strategy on Mideast peace negotiations and relocating the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, is no ordinary circumstance.

After the Los Angeles Times published a front-page article Wednesday reporting on the death of 10-month-old baby Layla after her uncle brought her to a protest outside Gaza City to search for her mother, the reaction by readers did not consist primarily of letters expressing sadness; rather, most writers accused The Times of unwittingly furthering the interests of Hamas or otherwise reporting on Israel unfavorably.

Here are some of their letters.

Joanne Boldon of Encino doesn’t believe the article belonged on The Times’ front page:


I am offended at this headline and size of picture on today’s front page. This is nothing but agitprop.

Sure it’s sad, but the baby was mistakenly brought to the area by her uncle — and she had a heart condition.

Don’t put this kind of “news” on the front page in such a manner. What is Israel supposed to do to defend its borders? Newspapers must consider what they’re printing and how it affects readership.

David L. Burg of Studio City objects to Israel being expected to show restraint:


The once-venerable Times again has become a propaganda bureau for Hamas. I have the following questions after reading this article:

What would these “desperate” people (of all ages) have done to Israelis had they broken through the border fence? And what would the U.S. military do if thousands of members of a terrorist organization were rioting on our border for weeks and attempting to breach the barrier so they could rush into California? Would we advocate “restraint”?

Los Angeles resident Murray S. Sperber looks back in history:

How terrible for Layla, not even 1 year old. What anguish her parents must feel.

Layla’s death is the result of Arab leaders’ rejection of the United Nations partition plan for Palestine in 1947. After 1947, Israel absorbed those Jews who had been expelled from the Arab nations they have occupied, some as far back as centuries. The Arab countries did not do the same for their fellow Arabs who fled from what is now the state of Israel.

The big difference is that Israel considered all Jews brothers and took them in. The Arab countries considered the displaced Palestinians as pawns to be used.

This cynical approach is what has led us to where the Middle East is today. Imagine what that part of the world would look like today had the U.N. partition plan been accepted.

Santa Clarita resident Karla H. Edwards compliments a Times staffer’s work:


Photographer Marcus Yam’s picture reminds me of a renaissance painting: the colors, the figures, the facial expressions. Thank you, Mr. Yam, for these beautiful and meaningful photos.

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