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What does Netanyahu want? Or Hamas? Or Biden?

Israeli tanks rolled in southern Israel along the border with the Gaza Strip on Feb. 7 amid ongoing battles between Israel and Hamas.JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images

Israeli prime minister and Hamas leaders are cut from the same cloth

I agree with H.D.S. Greenway’s assessment of the motives driving Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister’s party, and his supporters to continue the war in Gaza (“Why Netanyahu doesn’t want to scale back war with Hamas,” Opinion, Jan. 26). I have family and friends in Israel who have been working for years for a two-state solution.

However, I would like Greenway to quote a single Hamas leader who is in favor of a two-state solution as opposed to what Hamas has always held, that Israel is not a legitimate state and that its people need to be driven out.

Netanyahu and Hamas leaders are cut from the same cloth of caring nothing for their people so long as they retain power. Hamas provoked the war, just as Netanyahu is intent on prolonging it, in order, on one side, to deflect the Gazan population’s attention from the miserable conditions in which they have been held since Hamas’s ascendancy to power and, on the other, to inflame nationalist sentiments against a negotiated, just peace with the Palestinians.

Anca Vlasopolos

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Israel’s goal has been clearly stated: Defeat an enemy bent on its destruction

H.D.S. Greenway has studied the complexity of Israel’s war to destroy Hamas and has concluded that Benjamin Netanyahu “needs a long campaign to make people forget and overlook his failures.”

Here’s another explanation: Perhaps the campaign will take as long as necessary to fulfill the stated goal of the war, which is to destroy an enemy that is committed to the destruction of Israel and Jews everywhere and that demonstrated its savage capacity on Oct. 7, 2023.

Even if what Greenway posited were Netanyahu’s goal, it won’t work for at least two obvious reasons: First, Israel’s army is composed of citizens who would not fight in this war if they were not committed to its goal, and who certainly would not fight to preserve Netanyahu’s political career or that of anyone else. Second, Israelis (and Jews, for that matter) can remember events that happened more than a week ago, and the duration of this war will not protect Netanyahu from the verdict of the electorate when the country does hold elections.

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It is patronizing for Greenway to imply otherwise.

Jonathan Leffell

Brookline


Biden’s foreign policy is a road to ruin

Someone in President Biden’s team needs to read two recent Globe opinion pieces. H.D.S. Greenway, in “Why Netanyahu doesn’t want to scale back war with Hamas,” points out the fallacy of Biden’s thinking: He and Netanyahu are not friends.

Netanyahu is making a fool out of Biden. The United States should withhold all military support until Israel stops its indiscriminate bombing of Gaza.

I am incensed that my tax dollars are going to kill innocent Palestinians, especially children, and to wreak such horrific devastation.

Omer Aziz, in “Where is Biden’s foreign policy taking us?” (Ideas, Jan. 28), raises important questions that Biden needs to answer: What is the US strategic interest in the Middle East? What, after all, is America’s foreign policy? We recoil at what Russia is doing to Ukraine, but now we’re helping Israel destroy Gaza. I’ve lived through Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq, all wars I’ve been against. Now we’re again engaged in war, though not yet with boots on the ground. Aziz points out the faulty, backward thinking of Biden and his national security adviser, Jake Sullivan. He fears that Biden is “beholden to outdated assumptions, misreading the politics at home, and misunderstanding the Great Power dynamics abroad.”

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As a 77-year-old Democrat, I think that Biden is showing the negative effects of both power and his many decades in politics. I know that it can be difficult to change longstanding beliefs and thinking patterns, but we must alter our global strategies, and that means younger people must take the lead. I had hoped for a fresher candidate to face the challenge of Donald Trump, and now I fear that a presidential race between Biden and Trump spells doomsday for democracy.

Ginny O’Brien

Marblehead


Israel is waging a difficult, painful, costly, and necessary war

H.D.S. Greenway’s suggestion that Israel could be charged in the World Court with collective punishment is debatable. Hamas intentionally targets civilians; Israel is attacking terrorists who are using human shields. In Israel’s effort to rescue the hostages who were taken on Oct. 7, its moral dilemma is how to target Hamas fighters in the tunnels while killing as few civilians as possible in the buildings above, all while taking as few Israel Defense Forces casualties as possible. The Health Ministry in Gaza puts the death toll there at more than 25,000, about 9,000 of whom Israel has said are combatants.

In this regard, the 2016 invasion of Mosul is instructive. Iraqi, US, and allied forces bombed a city of about 1.4 million people in order to eradicate what were estimated to be thousands of Islamic State fighters, who, like Hamas, were using innocent humans as shields. Widespread bombing went on for more than nine months, killing thousands of civilians and destroying much of the city, while achieving the goal of retaking the city from the control of ISIS. The United States engaged in bombing with the intent not of killing civilians but rather of minimizing casualties for its troops.

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Israel should not be held to a higher standard than that of the United States.

Jon Maddox

Belmont