Israel and Hamas at War: A ‘Pearl Harbor or 9/11 Moment’

To the Editor:

Re “Palestinian Militants Stage Attack on Israel” (front page, Oct. 8):

The Jewish holiday of Shemini Atzeret, which fell on Oct. 7 this year, will be a “day of infamy” for Israel. Hamas’s terrorist invasion of the Jewish state — 50 years and a day after the traumatic start of the Yom Kippur War — is Israel’s Pearl Harbor or 9/11 moment.

Hundreds of Israelis have been killed and untold numbers kidnapped — including women and children abducted at gunpoint — and taken to Gaza as hostages and human shields. Hamas’s unbridled barbarity shocks the conscience of the world.

Thank you to President Biden for assuring Israel of America’s full and unwavering support.

Stephen A. Silver
San Francisco

To the Editor:

Re “Biden’s Road to a New Middle East Has Taken a Violent Detour” (news analysis, Oct. 8):

The latest round of Israel-Gaza violence notwithstanding, it may still be possible to salvage the current U.S.-Saudi-Israeli diplomatic initiative. Israel is capable of exacting terrible revenge on Gaza, but if it does, the resulting bloodshed will engender worldwide condemnation as disproportionate, do little to free Israel’s captive citizens and so enrage the Arab street as to shut down diplomatic engagement.

If Israel’s government can instead be persuaded to display restraint, possibly as one element in a U.S.-brokered deal with Saudi Arabia and Israel, an odds-defying agreement might yet be struck.

There are many in Israel calling for what would surely be a bloody invasion of Gaza to free the hostages. The unlikelihood of bringing many of them back by force of arms, at whatever cost in lives, should give Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pause.

The political capital he would gain by finally achieving Saudi diplomatic recognition might give him the leverage with his domestic opponents to sustain a policy of deep restraint, and with his Hamas foes in negotiating for a mutual exchange of captives.

Richard Steinberg
Columbia, Md.

To the Editor:

Re “As Netanyahu Speaks of War, the Question Is, ‘What Then?’” (news analysis, front page, Oct. 8):

The latest Israeli-Palestinian violence is a tragic but inevitable outcome of decades of American indulgence of illegal and immoral Israeli policies that have hardened attitudes and relegated Palestinians to a stateless people living under apartheid conditions.

Ironically, while our country rushes to sanction and isolate Russia for its illegal invasion of Ukraine, we help finance Israel’s illegal occupation while blocking United Nations sanctions that would hold Israel accountable for violating Palestinian human rights and international law.

Ken Galal
San Francisco

To the Editor:

Israel and the United States reputedly have among the most sophisticated intelligence networks in the world. How can a carefully executed Palestinian attack with the launch of thousands of rockets at Israel and the breach of its border not have been known beforehand? There are some serious questions that must be asked, and now.

Jonathan Siegel
Carmel, Calif.

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