Rob Rogers’ Aug. 7. editorial cartoon captioned “Why do they hate us so much?” has generated an unusual large volume of responses in these pages. The center of the cartoon shows Gazan children in a jail, with menacing rockets aimed at them. This is an ugly drawing suggesting that Israel aims to slaughter innocent children trapped in a cage. It is terrible when children suffer; it is, however, unfortunate that their suffering is used by prejudiced hate and war mongers to avoid sober and factual discussion.
Any discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian dilemma has to differentiate between the Palestinians of the West Bank, under the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas, and the Gaza residents under the leadership of Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas government that is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Gaza is enclosed for a reason. In 2005 Israel withdrew completely, and turned Gaza to its leadership — Hamas. They decided to adhere to their charter of origin that calls for the elimination of Israel. The rockets began to rain on Israel in 2007 and have not stopped as yet. There are hundreds of Israeli children who have never had a day free of running to the bomb shelter.
Acting in self-protection, Israel enclosed Gaza by restricting movements of people in and out of it. Daily truck convoys from Israel brought in all kinds of goods, from the essential to the luxurious, including cement that was used to build attack tunnels.
Recently Egypt locked the Rafah gate and demolished tunnels to prevent smuggling turning against it and thus making the enclosure complete. The “jail” became so by Egyptian act related to the association of Hamas with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Gaza could be free again if its leadership decides to disarm. It is not a matter of Israeli hatred but the need for self-protection.