Beware of rush to judgment

No one can watch the TV images of Gaza's civilians caught in the crossfire and not get upset. But the strong reaction against Israel is driven by emotion, not reason:

  • Every country has a right to defend itself. Hamas started this war with over 3,500 rockets launched on Israeli cities from highly-populated centers in Gaza. Israel responded after warning civilians to leave their homes. Hamas told its people to stay put.

  • On July 15, Israel accepted an Egyptian-proposed cease-fire, supported by the United States and the Arab League. Hamas rejected it and six subsequent cease fire. Had Hamas accepted the first one, most of the deaths would have been avoided.

  • Hamas' charter and speeches in Arabic are committed to Israel's destruction and a return of Israel, Gaza and the West Bank to Islamic rule. They have demonstrated their intent by launching 3,500 rockets on Israel. The fact that there were fewer casualties is not for lack of trying. Israelis have described the terror of running into bomb shelters with 15 seconds notice.

  • It is easy to judge another country from the comfort of your living room. No country has ever reacted differently than Israel when fired upon. What do you think America would do if the San Francisco came under rocket attack? No doubt the United States would eliminate the attacks regardless of civilian casualties.


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  • In every war since Word War I, the civilian casualties have far outnumbered the military ones. But this does not make the response excessive. In Iraq and Afghanistan, wars in which the United States was not defending itself against direct attack, there were over 120,000 civilian casualties.

    Richard Elliot

    Kensington

    Killing in Gaza is lopsided

    I grew up believing the propaganda I was taught about Israel: that it was an unusually moral, victimized underdog, forever defending itself against Arab enemies. We are hearing the same propaganda still today.

    The truth, then, as now, is that Israel has huge international funding, sophisticated propaganda capabilities, and superior military firepower which it uses to carry out its agenda of denying Arabs full human rights, taking more and more land from indigenous Palestinians, and forcing them to submit, leave, or die.

    As a psychiatrist, I have interviewed torture and PTSD victims in the West Bank and can tell you Israel is a democracy for Jews alone. I am not anti-Semitic. I prize no ethnic group more than the Jews.

    However, I have learned that the current lopsided killing of innocent Palestinian civilians is just one heartbreaking massacre among many.

    Read Wikipedia's the "Dahiya Doctrine." Hamas homemade "rockets," blamed for the current rampage, have killed 31 Israelis in 20 years. Israel is killing that many Palestinians in a single day.

    Jon Peterson

    Albany

    Joseph Martin acquittal just

    I was overjoyed to read in the Aug. 15 Times that the jury in Joseph Martin's sexual child-abuse case found him not guilty on so many counts.

    They saw through the "evidence" presented in the case as not much more than hearsay, unprofessional "victim" interviews, and group hysteria. More importantly, they could see how our criminal justice system so often operates -- that the job of a District Attorney is not to see justice done, but to get convictions.

    The D.A. is bound by the people to win cases, and that often means portraying innocent people as monsters. I congratulate the jury for making the right call.

    My younger brother went through this same nightmare nearly 30 years ago and wasn't so lucky. It ruined his life. I only hope there is something left of Martin's life, and I wish him the best.

    Scarlett Hepworth

    El Cerrito

    Israel seeks compromise

    I have read with incredulity recent letters that condemn Israel for doing what any other sovereign state under attack would do: defend itself.

    Hamas, long on U.S. and European Union lists of terrorist organizations, has launched violent attacks as its leaders luxuriate in Doha, Qatar.

    Recently, Al-Jazeera asked Hamas leaders living in the safety of Doha, why the are willing to subject the residents of Gaza to grave danger. Hamas representatives ignored the question and zealously vowed to continue their murderous onslaught.

    When Al-Jazeera then interviewed Prime Minister Netanyahu about the situation, he reiterated that Israel's long-stated goal is the negotiation of a two-state solution.

    Hamas seeks death and destruction for Israelis and Palestinians alike; Israel seeks a peaceful compromise. The contrast is heartbreakingly clear.

    Kathleen Smith

    Albany

    Council used extortion

    Extortion: the practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats. See blackmail and shakedown.

    I wanted to be sure I understood the word before using it. How else would you describe the actions of some Richmond City Council members when they publicly made statements to the media such as, "You won't see me voting (for the project) unless we get more money in community investments."

    This was before the council demanded that Chevron increase the $30 million in community benefits to $60 million, and then to $90 million for their pet projects.

    If Chevron wanted the council members' votes to approve the conditional use permit for its $1 billion modernization project, Chevron knew it had to pony up.

    At the last minute, one council member even demanded an additional $27 million!

    Residents proclaimed Chevron had the money so they should be required to spread the wealth and line the pockets of some locals.

    Isn't this the rationale thieves use when they steal from the wealthy? What kind of message does this send?

    Don Gosney

    Richmond

    Hope only ISIS murderers die

    The United States is in the process of destabilizing every country in the Middle East.

    Countries with relatively stable governments in which diverse groups of people got along with few problems are now at each others' throats. And shadowy, well-funded militant groups of mercenaries are able to have their way wherever they want.

    Rarely reported is the gruesome genocide of Christians in Syria and Iraq. These groups were left alone by the "dictators" we chose to eliminate.

    The Islamic group ISIS is obviously well-funded and well armed. If you follow the money trail, the U.S. citizens are unwittingly funding this horrific terror group with our purchase of gasoline. It is well known that Saudi money is funding these masked, supposedly Sunni Muslims who have orders to wipe out every other Muslim faction and Christians. Worldwide Christian genocide is occurring daily.

    The United States could eliminate these grisly killers in a very short time if they wanted to. I'm glad airstrikes have been ordered. Hopefully, ISIS murderers and not innocent civilians are killed.

    Marilynne L. Mellander

    El Sobrante