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Opinion: Ethnic cleansing, corrupt leaders, terror: What readers are saying about Israel, Palestine

People kneel near bodies on stretchers that are wrapped in white.
Mourners pray over the bodies of 17 Palestinians who were killed in airstrikes in Gaza City on May 16.
(Sanad Latifa / Associated Press)

To the editor: I feel it is my duty, being of Jewish heritage, to speak up about Israel and Palestine right now, as I see a lot of antisemitic and anti-Arab sentiment flaring up. The history of the area is very complicated, with wars and imperial conquests going back thousands of years. (“Israel unleashes new Gaza bombardment as diplomats work on truce,” May 17)

Israel was the Jewish homeland going back to biblical times, and after the atrocities of the Holocaust, it made sense to establish it as a nation state. However, this happened at the expense of the Palestinian people, who are now mostly confined to the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Most Israelis and Palestinians want peace and to be able to coexist. They both need a homeland. It’s their corrupt leaders and militias that are provoking each other into war.

It is not antisemitic to be against Israeli policies and aggression, and it is not Islamophobic to oppose Hamas’ violence. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu needs to go. He is a corrupt warmonger enabled by the U.S. and other world powers.

The Israelis and the Palestinians need to try diplomacy once again, and people need to educate themselves and see everyone’s perspective before taking sides.

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Graham Czach, Granada Hills

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To the editor: So Palestinians are being evicted from their homes in East Jerusalem, Israeli forces desecrate one of the most sacred sites in Islam during Ramadan, and when Palestinians retaliate, it is they who are the “militants.”

This horror show is not new, because the story always follows the same script: Manufacture a justification for one more opportunity to incinerate anyone, including children in the Palestinian territory under siege, by dropping some of the most lethal bombs the world has ever produced.

The Gaza Strip remains under constant threat of being smothered by a far superior military power, as more and more Palestinian lands are forcibly annexed by Jewish settlers who claim them as their birthright.

If you don’t understand what the term “ethnic cleansing” really means, try to take a deeper dive into understanding what the state of Israel is doing to the Palestinians.

Pervaiz Anwar, Irvine

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To the editor: All people deserve to live in dignity and safety, and all nations have the right to self defense. Since it’s re-establishment in 1948, Israel has sought lasting peace with its Arab neighbors. Over decades of struggle and serious negotiation, it has found six willing partners.

While Israel’s goal is lasting security and region-wide peace, Hamas’ eternal goal is Israel’s annihilation and replacement by an Islamist regime.

When the Palestinians are led by seekers of peace who show up in good faith to negotiate, Israel will be sitting at the table ready to talk.

Jane Drucker, Studio City

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To the editor: There is no military solution. This cycle of hatred, where Israel continues to confiscate Palestinian land for Jewish settlements followed by resistance and rockets fired into Israel by Hamas, will continue as long as Israel’s right-wing government supports illegal settlements and occupies Palestinian territory.

The leaders on both sides are unable to make peace and agree to a two-state solution to the conflict. Israel wants to live in peace, and the Palestinians want the freedom to live their lives in peace. This will require the U.S. and other members of the United Nations Security Council to make that happen.

Israel must give up pursuing “Greater Israel,” and the Palestinians must give up the right to return to Israel proper. Furthermore, it is time for the U.S. to stop enabling Israel’s occupation.

George J. Mouro, Rancho Mirage

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To the editor: Part of the tragedy of Israel began when it took upon itself the role of occupier and then unilateral enforcer of eminent domain.

Yes, there were provocations galore. Yes, there were suicide bombers and attacks. But the two sides have polarized into impossible positions that are predicated only on zero-sum gamesmanship.

It is imperative that there be voices of reason that can see both sides of this very long, tragic situation. What a difference there could be with two states cooperating with one another economically, technically, productively.

Yes, I know the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat blew it when peace was so close, but that doesn’t mean Israel should blow it as well. This terrible conflict should not be used as fodder to feed political power — either radical left or right, Palestinian or Israeli.

Sanity on one party’s part would help greatly, but it is easier to destroy than to build. Still, the dream of building must be kept alive, for the sake of both the Palestinians and the Israelis.

Sheldon H. Kardener, Santa Monica

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To the editor: What do I hear when comedians like Trevor Noah and John Oliver effectively say that, because of its military might, Israel should effectively accept the thousands of missiles being fired on it from the Gaza Strip?

I hear this: Just suck it up, Jews. After all, you made it through the Holocaust, and missile attacks are no Holocaust.

I keep waiting for Israel’s critics to acknowledge that Iran is fighting a proxy war against Israel. The Gazans are doing Iran’s bidding and dying for it. Let’s put the blame where it belongs.

Bruce N. Miller, Playa del Rey

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To the editor: From the continuing efforts to evict Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem to house Jewish settlers, to the attack on the Al-Aqsa Mosque (the third-holiest site in Islam), Israel has acted with shameful brutality.

I don’t condone the Hamas missile attacks on Israel, nor am I a “self-hating Jew,” the usual attack on any Jew who fails to toe the line of the Israeli government. Human Rights Watch has condemned Israel’s continuing disproportionate attacks against Palestinians, and the International Criminal Court chief prosecutor is monitoring the situation for potential war crimes.

These truths may be difficult to accept. Still, the truth remains the truth, even when you don’t want it to be so. The Biden administration must move beyond comments on “Israel’s right to defend itself” and press for an immediate cease-fire to end this catastrophe.

Ken Levy, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Israel is a small country, similar in land area and population to Los Angeles County.

Hamas has been showering it, daily, with hundreds of missiles launched from sites only a few dozen miles away. To draw a comparison, the distance from the launch sites to Tel Aviv is the same as from Irvine to downtown Los Angeles.

Imagine your reaction if a similar attack happened here.

Eric Forster, Los Angeles

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To the editor: The United States has manufactured terrible weapons of mass destruction and justified it by making loads of money selling them both to civilians to foreign governments. It has propped up Israel, Saudi Arabia and other governments that inflict terror by selling them weaponry from American “defense” companies.

But it has now lost complete control of these weapons, leading to senseless and elongated wars and violence at home. The weapons are roaming freely in our country and throughout the world.

Murtadha Khakoo, Fullerton

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To the editor: A few cynical words of advice for Hamas: Don’t use your people’s injuries and deaths as propaganda points.

If you insist on bombing Israel, buy several fewer bombs and use the money instead to build bomb shelters for your people. Don’t use your people’s homes, schools, hospitals or neighborhoods as areas to launch rockets or to store munitions.

If you can’t see yourself doing any of the above, then simply let your people into all the fortified tunnels you’ve built so they can wait safely until the bombing stops.

Don’t proclaim that you are trying to save your people from Israel’s bombs when your nihilistic policies and actions are the reasons they are experiencing this misery in the first place.

Sara Cannon, Santa Monica

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To the editor: Both Israel and the Palestinians get a significant amount of financial aid from the United States, Europe and others.

Perhaps it could be agreed that whoever starts a conflict would lose their subsidies for a year. This would force both sides to strongly consider if attacking the other is worth losing aid.

This time, Israel started the conflict with the eviction of Palestinian residents from their East Jerusalem homes.

Without the money, neither side could survive for long. It could be the beginning of fairer negotiations and maybe a solution. Support without accountability only makes the situation worse by giving the means to each protagonist to keep pummeling the other.

Marie Matthews, San Pedro


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