First, the letter (also online at the Herald):
Israeli acts backfire
Like columnist Dale McFeatters, I think Israel’s extreme attack on Lebanon is wrong and self-destructive. Israel’s prime minister keeps saying Israel is a “sovereign nation,” but no less so is Lebanon (“Israeli response borders on overkill,” July 26).
The initial event was a “brazen raid” on the Israeli military that captured two soldiers and killed eight others. Despite the fact that prisoner exchanges are a common feature of wars, Israel refused to consider it and carried out attacks on Hezbollah outposts across the border in Lebanon. Hezbollah fought backandfired low-powered short-range and inaccurate missiles into Israel. Few, if any were injured in the first missile attacks, but recently the attacks have gotten more accurate and have killed at least 51 Israeli civilians – after firing over 1,000 missiles.
After Hezbollah’s first ineffective missile strikes, Israel responded by not only attacking Hezbollah strongholds near the border, but also attacking the whole country of Lebanon, despite its newly elected Western-leaning government. At the very least, Israel must stop attacking non-combatants and limit its raids to the 3-kilometer border area and it must open up its prisons to international inspection.
– Eugene R. Gobby, Allston
Now, my response:
To the editor:
Eugene R. Gobby is correct that Lebanon is a sovereign nation (“Israeli acts backfire”, Letters, August 1), one which is now paying the price of allowing a terrorist group to launch attacks from bases on its land for over two decades. The war against terrorism spans international boundaries. When lawless nations do not root out terrorists in their midst, law-abiding nations have no choice but to do it for them.
The July 12 raid by Hezbollah was not the “initial event” which led to the current engagement. The initial event was over two decades of missiles fired into Israel, along with the recent acquisition by Hezbollah of more accurate, longer range missiles supplied by Syria and Iran, and their threat, made before the July 12 raid, to fire those missiles at Israeli cities.
Israel cannot “stop attacking non-combatants,” because it has never done so. The party responsible for the civilian deaths in Lebanon is Hezbollah, which stations launchers and stockpiles in civilian villages; prevents civilians from leaving when warned to do so by Israel; and denies bomb shelters to anyone but their leaders.
– Jonathan Kamens, Brighton
They printed my letter today (careful! that archive synopsis has a paragraph from my letter and a paragraph from a different letter that appeared on the same day in the same section!), heavily edited. Here’s what they printed:
Some of the points they removed from my letter were covered by other columns in today’s paper. Still, it’s rather aggravating for them to cut so much from my letter that what’s left is bluster with nothing to back it up.