Baring their brutality

The grotesque brutality with which Hamas militants conducted a murderous political purge of the Gaza Strip leaves absolutely no doubts in the minds of reasonable people of the true nature of this organization. So much for the “moderate” act that Hamas’ leader Ismail Haniyeh tried to present. The purge included the arrests of dozens of senior Fatah officials, throwing fellow Palestinians off highrises, public executions, abuse of corpses, looting, and the robbing and burning of homes of anyone ever associated with Fatah and even the killing of two U.N. workers. 

If this is the type of brutality militants of Hamas use to win a political fight against their own partners in the “unity” government, what chance does peace with Israel really have?  In fact, the biggest losers in this whole affair are the Palestinian residents of Gaza. They are now left with a brutal Islamist authority, similar to the Taliban in Afghanistan. The dreams of a democratic Palestinian state, including Gaza, are further than they’ve ever been, as neither Israel nor the West will see a real negotiation partner under the green banners of Hamas. 

Vadim Rotberg | San Francisco

‘Warped worldview’

Former President Jimmy Carter said the American-Israeli-European consensus to reopen direct aid to the new government in the West Bank, but to deny the same to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, represented an “effort to divide Palestinians into two peoples.” To quote another famous American, Ronald Reagan when addressing former President Carter in the presidential debates, “there you go again.”

I cannot understand Carter’s warped worldview, which would border on comical were he not a former president and Nobel laureate with the stature and standing such positions imply. Hamas is a violent terrorist organization that took over Gaza by force of arms. While Fatah is far from perfect, at least symbolically they have bought into a peace process that views the two peoples as equals where the rights of one do not a priori lead to the elimination of the other. 

Two states with two peoples living side by side in peace is the only way and the sooner that Carter and his ilk understand this, the sooner there will be progress. The humanitarian crises in Gaza could have been averted had Hamas agreed to disavow terrorism, recognize Israel and abide by previous agreements as demanded by the Quartet. 

Steve Lipman | Foster City

Crush Hamas

The Hamas fighters who overran Fatah in Gaza are all pictured wearing facemasks. For all we know, they could be Al Qaeda or Syrian Special Forces or Chechnyan or a member any other Islamist group. How does anyone know that they are Palestinian? 

Any fighter who is afraid to reveal his identity for the cameras after achieving a “great victory” has something to hide, although he is clearly proud of his brutality. 

How could anyone be expected to negotiate with people like that, or their leaders? The U.S. did not negotiate with masked Serbian fighters. NATO bombed the living daylights out of them, including many of their civilians and much of their infrastructure. We irradiated their buildings using bunker-busting bombs containing low-grade uranium. 

The Hamas victory needs to be crushed with the same firm hand dealt to the Milosevic regime. If not, the double standard would be blatant. 

Desmond Tuck | Palo Alto

Menu for success

I have tried at least once all the various restaurant concepts at the JCC and here are my suggestions for what may work. A lunch place with a cafeteria-style buffet: salads, sandwiches and small plates all at reasonable prices. For the coffee crowd, good coffee and luscious desserts and for the dinner crowd simple American-style food with takeout options. The key to success is modest portions of good food and most importantly modest prices. 

Evelyn Adler | San Francisco

Countering trends

It was refreshing to read of Amnon Rodan’s letter to our East Bay families (June 8 j.). His realistic statements about declining involvement and financial support in the Jewish community are a wake-up call.

Steven Cohen’s recent research paper, “An Inconvenient Truth for American Jews,” emphasizes that the most effective way to counter the trends that Rodan and many others fear is clearly through exemplary Jewish day school education.

A shining light of hope in the East Bay Community is the phenomenal growth of the Contra Costa Jewish Day School. In six years, it has grown from 20 to over 80 students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Next year’s kindergarten and first grades are filled to capacity and have waiting lists. As a result, this young school has embarked on a capital campaign for its own facility, having outgrown its current rental space at Temple Isaiah.

The East Bay community and many others are responding to the “wake-up call” of recent statistics and projections. All those involved in this new institution’s success story are visionaries and leaders who set the example for others to follow. There is hope for our future to be viable and strong.

Karla Smith | Alamo
president, CCJDS board of directors