Letter to the Editor: Toby F. Block
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Letter to the Editor: Toby F. Block

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Letter to the editor,

Unlike the rabbi mentioned in Dave Schechter’s column, I have no problem grieving for Palestinians who’ve been killed in Gaza and recognizing that Israel has no choice but to seek total victory over Hamas. Hamas is responsible for all deaths in this conflict and has sworn to inflict October 7 atrocities on Israel again and again.

All the Palestinians in Gaza have been living under the administration of Hamas for the past seventeen years. Hamas has done nothing to develop the economy in Gaza or build the infrastructure needed by a viable state. Its claims that an Israeli blockade prevented work on building a state do not ring true, considering that Hamas spent $1,000,000,000 to build its extensive network of terror tunnels and to acquire missiles and armaments used to attack Israel and Israelis.

Instead of building a state in which the Palestinians could become productive citizens while coexisting with the nation-state of the Jews, the leaders of Hamas enriched themselves by embezzling monies donated for the people’s benefit and diverted humanitarian aid to efforts to delegitimize and destroy the Jewish state. Even while spreading claims of Palestinians’ facing starvation, Hamas is continuing to commandeer 60% of the aid being sent into Gaza by Israel and other Western nations.

Nor is it true that Israel is deliberately targeting innocent civilians or bombing Gaza indiscriminately. Professor John Spencer of the Modern War Institute at West Point has praised Israel for achieving a ratio under 2:1 for civilian deaths to combatant deaths in Gaza, noting that ratios of 9:1 are not unusual in the kind of urban fighting that is occurring in the densely populated enclave. The sad fact is that Hamas’ hiding weapons and munitions in homes, hospitals, mosques, and tunnels built under residential buildings guarantees that Israel’s exemplary efforts to avoid killing civilians simply cannot be completely successful.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has outlined a program for the demilitarization of Gaza and the deradicalization of the Palestinians living there. No one should expect these changes to be accomplished overnight. But all people of goodwill should support the effort.

Toby F. Block, Atlanta

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