Dear city councillors,

I urge you to pause before you condemn either side on the conflict between Hamas and Israel.

A close reading of the circumstances as laid out in The New York Times and a New Yorker article by professor Bernard Avishai reveals that conflict was planned and initiated by the Hamas government in Gaza to give it international presence, premeditated and executed to inflame all parties and the international community. Please do not condemn Israel for responding to an attack on its residents by Hamas. Hamas’ intent is to destroy Israel; Israel’s goal is to live in peace with its neighbors.

For those who have an appreciation for historical considerations: In 1948, 750,000 Palestinians were displaced from their homes by a conflict that was initiated by neighboring Arab countries determined to eliminate any jewish presence in Israel. They were quite prepared to continue the work of the Nazi genocide. At the same time, more than 800,000 jewish residents of Arab countries were forced to leave their homes with little but the clothing on their backs. Members of my family from two Arab countries were subject to this experience, and family in Jerusalem was subjected to artillery fire from the Jordanian army night and day until the conflict subsided. Most of the Jewish refugees were absorbed by the new nation of Israel. With one exception, none of the Arab countries offered hospitality to displaced Palestinians.

If you should wish to express a view on this conflict, do so with a sense that to support one or the other you willingly encourage more conflict. Your energies would be best invested in urging a peaceful resolution between the parties that ultimately must find a way of living as neighbors.

O.R. Simha, Third Street

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