A Palestinian girl walks with a toy that she salvaged from debris of the el-Yazje apartment building which was destroyed following an overnight Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Thursday, July 17, 2014. The Israeli military says it has struck 37 targets in Gaza ahead of a five-hour humanitarian cease-fire meant to allow civilians to stock up after 10 days of fighting. The Gaza Interior Ministry says four people were killed and that a 75-year-old woman died of wounds from the day before. The Israeli army says Hamas fired 11 rockets at Israel early Thursday. Palestinian health officials say that in total, at least 225 Palestinians have been killed. On the Israeli side, one man was killed since July 8. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Last night I asked readers for their emails on the crisis in Gaza, which -- although somewhat lost amid the hoopla over the downed flight in Ukraine -- is worsening at this hour, with Israeli troops now launch an land invasion of the troubled region. Here's excerpts of what some of you had to say -- emails are re-printed with confirmed permission and an option for anonymity. Here goes:
1. Do you consider the consolidation of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority to work together for peace as provocation? Or, do you still consider the "official" story of the three kidnapped Israeli teens as the provocation? Do you know that another group came forward and claimed responsibility? Do you know that Netanyahu knew the kids were dead for several weeks and sat on it in order to prepare for this pre-meditated onslaught that is currently happening?
2. Will, I’m mad as hell at the liberal media for condemning Israel for defending itself in the face of terrorist attacks by radical Muslim extremists. Had Arafat negotiated in good faith in Oslo (1993), hostilities could have ended which would have paved the way for mutual recognition and eventual economic prosperity. But Arafat's fidelity missed the form. Lessons learned from it missed the point. Subsequent elections free and fair in 2007 missed the right people. The Palestinian Authority duly elected the terrorist organization Hamas, a terrorist organization dedicated to Israel’s destruction, to govern Gaza in 2007. Rather than renouncing violence and recognizing Israel, Hamas launched interminable arrays of rockets against Israeli civilians in heavily populated areas with Israel. To her credit, Israel showed great restraint until the kidnapping and murder of 3 Israeli university students earlier this month. The collateral effects of mounting civilian casualties in the wake of hundreds of Israeli sorties were as foreseeable as they were preventable.
Rather than repudiating Hamas through renouncing violence and recognizing Israel, the Palestinians allow Hamas to use them as human shields to protect their weapons. Benjamin Netanyahu uses weapons as shields to protect his country. Obama sympathizes with and comforts terrorists through billions of dollars in foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority. If we had a leader like Bibi instead of Bobo, there would be peace in the Mideast because Netanyahu stands with his people. I stand with Israel.
-- Jonathan R. Verlin
3. While I do not agree with some of your thoughts in this article, I respect your right to express your opinion. However, in making your point you've stretched some of the facts. The piece you linked to does not state that "Israeli leaders" call the current operation "mowing the law" -- it says that some Israelis do. That's a significant distinction. Every society has those who may not value human life as they should; but that doesn't make it government policy.
I understand that this error does not change the message of your essay, which is more important than this one point. But it's not right to attribute this example of callousness to the Israeli government when it's not backed up by your source.
4. Somehow the world press has turned Israel into a villain. How does this make sense. Hamas is the aggressor. This is nuts.
5. There are right and wrong on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. That seems an obvious thought but I'm sure you'll get comments arguing otherwise.