WHEN YOUSEF Munayyer ("Ignoring the plight in Gaza," Op-ed, Dec. 21) compares Hamas and the people of Gaza to the people in 1949 Berlin during the Soviet blockade, he stands history on its head. Berliners were not firing missiles on civilians in neighboring towns. They were not holding a kidnapped Russian soldier hostage for years. They were not smuggling in arms to launch terrorist attacks.
That is the reality of Gaza. Collective punishment? Well, as Munayyer suggests, the Gazans overwhelmingly support Hamas's terrorist activities. They are reaping the consequences of their own choices. They are not simply innocent bystanders, like the neighboring Israelis who have seconds to react when a missile from Gaza is heading toward a residence or a school.
Israel has shown time and again that is willing to negotiate peace with former enemies. It has done so with Egypt and Jordan. It has been attempting to do so with very limited success with the weak Palestinian Authority government in the West Bank. Hamas, however, can't bring itself to end its acts of terrorism, even during the truce that recently ended.
If you weep for the people of Gaza, place the responsibility where it belongs: on the Hamas thugs who run it, and the people there who support them.
Daniel M. Kimmel