“Israeli soldiers are dying so that innocent Palestinians can live.” This comment, made a week ago by Israel’s ambassador, Ron Dermer, follows suit with Foreign Minister Avigdor Leiberman’s statement that the Israel Defense Forces is the “most humane and bravest army in the world.”
With the death toll rising (rapidly among Gazans, and slowly among Israelis), a significant misperception is being conveyed regarding this disparity — that this is somehow a war that is being wrongly fought.
Just the other day, Dermer was interviewed on CNN by Anderson Cooper and pointed out that “we’ve got two-thirds of our country in bomb shelters, the equivalent to 200 million Americans. Could you seriously tell me that if you had 200 million Americans in bomb shelters day after day for three weeks, that the United States would respond with less force from a terrorist organization from a contiguous territory?”
There is an expectation that Israel should “show restraint” or that somehow this war would be more justified if each side were losing life equally. Yet there is no end in sight, only the constant reiteration of the justification of Hamas’ terror activities.
The war in Gaza goes on. The war will not stop until Hamas recognizes Israel’s right to exist. It is obvious that it is no longer a land-for-peace issue. Israel gave Gaza to the Palestinians over nine years ago; they have initiated rocket fire on almost a daily basis once Hamas took over Gaza, which has left Israel’s surrounding cities living in constant fear. The purpose of the blockades is not to stop freedom for the Gazans, but rather to stop terrorist activity and suicide bombers threatening Israel.
Palestinians have every opportunity, right now, to build a nation, to build an economy and to establish an identity that has nothing to do with violence. But instead, they have used their resources to build tunnels to destroy another nation. The emphasis now seems to be on bringing such global scorn upon Israel that it stops defending itself.
Israel will never stop being on the defensive, as long as there is even one terror tunnel, one Hamas member firing a rocket or one terrorist leader diverting resources to make war and not peace. Our very survival depends on it.
The writer is co-chair of the Tampa Jewish Community Relations Council.
I never hear grumblings about a “do-nothing” president, but you always hear grumblings about a “do-nothing” Congress. Now our “do-nothing” Congress is unhappy with our president for doing lots of “somethings” and wants to sue him. Instead of wasting precious time, they should be following the president’s lead to pass legislation on climate change, extending unemployment insurance, raising the minimum wage, immigration reform and infrastructure repair.
Let’s talk about 2
A recent Letter of the Day calls for “open, honest debate” on Amendment 2 (Your View, July 31). I agree and have a few talking points to start with.
If, in fact, the amendment is to apply only to patients with “debilitating conditions,” I’d think that the customer base for medical marijuana should be limited. That being the case, why are there so many people coming to Florida to get in on the ground floor of what they expect to be a booming business and make a lot of money?
Assuming that the legitimate customer base for medical marijuana will be limited, why would we need a network of 1,800 “pot shops” to dispense the medication? Why can’t existing licensed and regulated pharmacies in Florida do the distribution?
Since doctors won’t be required to actually sign a prescription for medical marijuana and licensed pharmacies won’t be doing the distribution, the mechanisms already in place to track other controlled substances will be bypassed. This naturally gives rise to “pill mill” comparisons. We need an open discussion about why this won’t be the case. Simply calling concerns wild exaggerations isn’t comforting.
If the state cannot keep people from lying about their need to buy and use fireworks, why should we believe that the state will be more successful about identifying actual “caregivers?”
One final topic we can openly and honestly debate is the need for Amendment 2 in the first place. It’s been pointed out that John Morgan’s late father, a cancer patient, used medical marijuana without the benefit of Amendment 2, so why do we need it? Can we talk?
John S.V. Weiss
Quite a coup
When The Tampa Tribune added yet another conservative columnist to its pages, I wondered why. But now I know! In Douglas MacKinnon’s “Israelis wish Kerry would just go away” (July 31), he declares with certainty three times that Secretary of State John Kerry’s only ambition in life now is to win the Nobel Peace Prize at the expense of Israel’s security. Kerry has never uttered a word about this secret Nobel Prize ambition, but too bad for him — MacKinnon can read his mind.
So now I understand that when the talent scouts at the Tribune realized they had a psychic on the line, they hauled him aboard.
Yes, the addition of MacKinnon has proven to be quite the coup for the Tribune. Next mission for MacKinnon: What does he see when he looks into the eyes of Vladimir Putin?