Letters to the Editor: Toby F. Block
Letters to the EditorOpinion

Letters to the Editor: Toby F. Block

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Letter to the editor,

Dave Schechter’s excellent column concerning the current war in Gaza was marred by his reference to Israel’s “retaliation” against Hamas. Israel is not seeking revenge for the atrocities Hamas inflicted on Israelis (and on people visiting Israel) on October 7. Israel is fighting to ensure that Hamas will not be able to fulfill its vow to inflict such atrocities on Israelis (and their guests), repeatedly, in the future.  Israel’s leaders realize that this requires that Israel score a decisive victory over Hamas. Yet, Israel has gone to great lengths to avoid killing Gazan civilians (even though Hamas was assisted on Black Saturday by Gazans who had been allowed to work in Israel and even though Hamas’ atrocities were cheered and celebrated by many Gazans).

When discussing the situation, we need to recall the opinion of Major John Spencer, head of West Point’s Modern Warfare Institute, who notes that Israel has achieved an amazingly low ratio of 1.5:1 between civilian deaths and combatant deaths while ratios as high as 9:1 have occurred in similar instances of recent fighting in densely populated areas like Gaza. We also need to recall that casualty figures reported by Hamas are often exaggerated and place all the blame on Israel, while ignoring how the activities of Hamas and other terrorist groups endanger the people in Gaza. Thus, while Hamas, early in the war, claimed an Israeli airstrike had killed 500 people at the al-Ahli hospital, it was later discovered that the damage was caused by a rocket (fired at Israel by Palestinian Islamic Jihad) which crashed in the hospital’s parking lot where it ignited munitions stored there. No more than 50 people suffered injuries. More recently, an Israeli precision attack on a building where two Hamas leaders were meeting was said to have killed 35 Gazans living in a “safe zone” nearby. Again, Israel had used the smallest possible weapon which would accomplish the mission, but sparks ignited munitions buried in the zone designated for sheltering civilians.

Toby F. Block, Marietta

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