The following letter was submitted to The New York Times in response to "Israel Courts Catastrophe in Gaza Protests" (April 2, 2018)
Letters to the Editor
The New York Times
To the Editor:
Re "Israel Courts Catastrophe in Gaza Protests" (Editorial, April 2, 2018):
There are legitimate issues to be raised concerning Israel's policy vis-a-vis Hamas and Gaza, including the issue of access of the population to the outside world and the extent of the use of force employed last Friday to defend Israel and its population.
The Times, however, simply ignores what Hamas is about, what the purpose of the demonstration was and why Israel turned to the use of force.
This was by no means a peaceful protest. It was organized with the theme of the “right of return” and featured literal calls by Hamas leaders in the crowds to march “on to Jerusalem,” a theme consistent with the ideology of Hamas, which is to destroy the Jewish state and to reject any efforts at reconciliation or peace. On the ground, groups of demonstrators sought to breach and destroy the fence separating Israel from Gaza. This would have been an important precedent with significant security implications since Israeli civilians live close to the fence and would have been targets of Hamas terrorism, as they’ve been in the past when underground tunnels were the weapon of choice.
The simple fact is that no nation would tolerate the breaching of their border by thousands of people, and particularly not so when the ideology of those behind it were a denial of the country's right to exist and who have used terror toward that goal.
Improving the life of the residents of Gaza should be not only Israel's responsibility but that of Egypt and the Palestinian Authority. Most of all it should fall on Hamas, which needs to end its holy war against Israel and stop building weapons with which to attack the Jewish state.
Jonathan A. Greenblatt
Chief Executive and National Director of the Anti-Defamation League