When history is written by the west
To the Editor:
I am reacting to David Chowes’ letter, “Hamas is the reason for Gaza bloodshed,” in T&V, July 31.
Reading it brought me back to the Sioux Wars in the middle of the nineteenth century when the Dakotas attacked and killed some 800 men, women and children. Their eventual defeat, one might argue, was something they brought about themselves, but that “It’s their own fault,” conclusion would require that one’s story opens with the massacre of 29 soldiers near Fort Laramie: “The savages killed 29 of our boys!’ But the expression of “savagery” points back to a history and to an attitude toward natives and settlers.
In other words, what we have here is not a description of a nasty series of events. There is no acknowledgement that a chief had just been killed by a trooper, nor an acknowledgement of uninvited settlements in (acknowledged) Indian territory, nor an acknowledgement that natives had been forced by treaty, when not forced by military power, to accommodate the flood of foreigners from Europe and the eastern states — an accommodation which, they well-knew was, after tens of thousands of years In-This-Place, their demise.
For some it was then, and now, unfathomable that the natives of This Place did not feel it their duty to go out of existence so that the settlers might “live in peace.” For some it was then, as it is now, unfathomable that those in This Place just might have a moral duty to rebel according to their own terms — a moral duty ever-so precisely described in our Declaration of Independence.
I am not a historian, nor am I suggesting that we go back to the origin of the universe, but it seems to me that Mr. Chowes’ pitch had no more accuracy then we find in “Rockets raining down on Israel!”
We can of course avoid the moral obligation that we have toward the mess created in Palestine by western imperialism, and we do, but we do it at our own peril. Yet, if we do not know that history, and more important, if we make no attempt to know it, then Mr. Chowes’ words and the pathetic dribble coming out of The White House are secure.
The choices we have supported for the natives of Palestine are 1) disappear, 2) live on your knees, 3) die fighting. Too many of us have the gaul to object when they choose number 3.
John M. Giannone, ST
A look at Hamas’ track record on peace
Re: Story, “An Eye-opening Vacation,” T&V, July 24,
Ms. Rocha-Buschel writes of her trip to Israel and ends by wishing “there had been a way to receive a less one-sided perspective” of Israel’s politics. There is a way. Simply search “Hamas Charter” and read of the hate-filled, sanctimonious determination to kill all Jews.
Ms. Rocha-Buschel then mentions that 632 Palestinians have been killed since Israel’s response in Gaza, to 33 Jews. Unmentioned is the fact that Israel has built thousands of cement bomb shelters to shield its citizens, and hundreds of thousands more have been constructed by Israelis themselves in response to the constant rocket attacks over the years by Hamas.
Hamas, in contrast, has used billions donated by foreign governments and its imported cement to line hundreds of tunnels in which Hamas commanders hide from danger. Why are there no bomb shelters in Gaza? Why does Hamas shoot rockets and missiles from their hospitals, mosques, schools and private homes? The answer is simple: to effect exactly the comparison made in the press and by most other media.
Most of the Palestinian casualties are women and children. No wonder. This is what happens: Before retaliating, Israel actually phones those in targeted facilities where attacks have originated. (Has anyone ever heard of combatants warning their enemy in order to spare lives?) If residents are unavailable to answer, helicopters drop notices in Arabic to tell the people to get out of the building. The residents, forced by terrorists or a family member, stay. Hamas publicizes the “atrocity.” Yes, it is an atrocity, but perpetrated by Hamas on their own terrorized community.
Does the media tell of the hospital Israel has set up for Palestinians at the Erez crossing while Israeli men are facing Hamas killers? The medical personnel, who could be stationed with Israeli ground forces, serves not only the Palestinian sick but also Palestinian women giving birth.
Critics of Israel like to speak of the “occupation” of Gaza. Does no one remember how Palestinians got into Jewish Gaza? About nine nears ago the Jews who lived there were expelled from their homes. There was not one Israeli left there since it was to be handed over to Palestinians to build a successful state. Hamas took over, voted in by the citizenry.
These are people who dance and cheer, distributing candies to their children, when they manage to kill Jews. In fact, since 2001, Sderot, an Israeli city half a mile from Gaza, has had 10,000 rockets smashed into its playgrounds, nursery schools and residences. That’s one rocket per day.
Golda Meir, years ago, said it best: When the Arabs love their children as much as they hate Jews, there will be peace. Binyamin Netanyahu is a close second: If the Palestinians were to put down their arms today, there would be peace; if Israel were to put down its arms today, there would be no Israel.
Barbara Strudler, ST
T&V letters should stay local
I write to kindly and politely request that Town & Village restrict the letters that it publishes to those reacting to either a specific article or news regarding our neighborhood. I happen not to think that it is our community paper’s obligation to publish its readers’ unsolicited opinions on national or international affairs.
The New York Observer, however, published a pungent item last week identifying which celebrities stand behind Israel and which stand behind Gaza. This, not Town & Village, is where such public rhetoric belongs.
Billy. S, ST
Editor’s note: We agree with the author of this letter. While T&V does publish letters on non-local topics, there’s no question that we prefer those on matters relating to the community we cover as well as New York City and State. We respectfully ask that readers stay on topic when submitting letters. Submissions for The Soapbox column may be on the topic of the writer’s choice.