Israeli regime leaves Gazans little to lose

The "key facts" pointed out in the letter to the editor about the recent events in the Gaza Strip were validly made.

But the writer did not put them in the context of one crucial underlying, ongoing fact: Even after its military withdrawal in 2005, Israel has maintained its economic blockade on the strip. It argues that this is needed in order to try to prevent weapons and other contraband from getting into the territory.

However, Israel fails to realize that in keeping this economic stranglehold on Gaza, the people living there cannot work or otherwise maintain a life that supports them and their families. The despair and rage that this has fueled has contributed to the civilian support needed for the rocket attacks, suicide bombings, etc. to take place. If the average resident of the strip could work and thus take care of his or her family, it is almost a certainty that they would not allow these rocket attacks on Israel to be launched from their neighborhoods.

There have been reports on the BBC and other non-U.S.-based media that the attacks are not being perpetrated by Hamas but other, even more radical jihadist groups living and operating within the strip. If and when Israel would lift its economic blockade, perhaps Hamas would put more energy into preventing these groups from engaging in these attacks.

There are extensive networks of tunnels used to carry weapons and other contraband from Iran and other countries through Sinai into Gaza Strip. Israel and Egypt could certainly offer to assist Hamas in shutting down and then preventing the rebuilding of these tunnels. This would be an effective test of Hamas' desire to get along more constructively with Israel.

Finally, it is interesting that Israel's 'endless patience' came to an end with an election coming up in January. There is nothing like a military crisis/war to get an ambivalent population out to support a leader whose other policies have had mixed results at best. It is admittedly a bit cynical on my part but one must wonder if Bibi and his cohorts decided it was time to attack Gaza when they realized that they needed to distract their own electorate from the serious internal problems in Israel that they have failed to resolve.

Richard Solomon

Oakland

Taxpayers shouldn't bankroll oppression

This latest apologia for Israel's indefensible actions in Gaza is typical of the disinformation by the Israeli Lobby in the United States.

Israel has repeatedly invaded and blockaded Gaza to the point of starvation and unemployment of half of its population. Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu have stated that conditions in Gaza are far worse than what existed in Soweto under apartheid South Africa.

The United States and Israel were totally isolated as the U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to recognize Palestine. The U.S. taxpayers have given hundreds of billions to Israel over the years, and yet that has earned us the enmity of most of the world.

In the recent election, both candidates competed to see who could grovel the most toward the rightist Likud government in Israel. Romney was unbelievably worse than Obama on this issue, but it was a close call.

The United States has acted as a dishonest broker in the Middle East, and a radical change in our policy there is needed now.

Michael P. Hardesty

Oakland

Statehood should level negotiating field

On Nov. 29, Palestine was recognized as a non-U.N. member state.

Of course, Israel didn't want Palestine to obtain even a modicum of statehood -- and the U.S. in its knee-jerk obeisance follows Israel's policy without giving the idea some independent thought.

Yes, Israel has a problem with states. It can't indiscriminately bomb them, assassinate their leaders, blockade their borders, close ports, limit freedom of movement and settle their people on land that is not theirs. Palestinian statehood would surely be an inconvenience to Israel.

But it might actually move the peace process: If Palestine moved from occupied territory to statehood, there would be more equality between the negotiators.

Gen Katz

Oakland

Better packaging needed for wet days

I do enjoy reading The Montclarion delivered to my doorstep every Friday.

However, the little plastic bags used on rainy days are totally useless. On a recent rainy Friday, I put the unread Montclarion in my recycle bin. It's not only soaked, but unreadable.

Has the paper thought about upgrading to a better bag? Perhaps you could ask the S.F. Chronicle how they manage to deliver a dry newspaper on rainy days. In the meantime, please stop delivering on rainy days.

Betsy Curnow

Oakland