July 24, 2024

Letter to the Editor: Can’t say

We want a lot less talk here in this country. Scrolling through the the channels on satellite TV, you can see the outrage and obviously so. It’s these Americans of Arabic descent that feel they have the right to their own opinion of the situation in Israel and Gaza and, of all things, say as much.

Now, from what little I know of the situation, and it isn’t much, the attack by Hamas has succeeded in achieving the only thing that it could possibly have accomplished — an immediate and terrible response by Israel which is resulting in thousands of deaths of Hamas but mostly noncombatants. Their own deaths and those of other Palestinians cannot possibly be the end goal.

We must assume, and I know this may be difficult for some, that the people making the decisions for Hamas have the same level of intelligence as the rest of us. They simply didn’t just one day decide to commit societal suicide. There has to be a bigger plan. Even Hamas doesn’t decide one day to slaughter a bunch of people just for grins.

What this leads to is our belief that we really need to be careful what we say: that here in the US of A, we will punish all those who voice support for the Palastinians. Anyone with any sense of history at all should see just how tenuous is our belief in free speech. We have the right to voice our opinion as long as it is the officially approved opinion. I am not advocating for Hamas nor the Palastinians; but more importantly I am not advocating for either. What I observe is the always present undercurrent of intolerance which this country has always had and periodically surfaces when given the opportunity.

The situation in the Near East is extremely complicated; we, among others, have tried to solve it now for several generations without success. Wiping out Hamas will not solve it and all those who have given it some thought realize this. The people in Washington, in our government, understand this even if our public does not. Simply razing Gaza will only make things worse. Why do you suppose Hamas decided to do this now? Could it be that it was because Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and others were prepared to finally accept Israel as a permanent fixture?

The only thing apparent in all this is that thousands of people are dead and more thousands will be dead and for us sitting in our homes at night watching it, it is horrible and should never have happened; and these viewers are correct about one thing — it should not have happened, but dismissing people from jobs or school or otherwise punishing people for their opinion is not a solution. No one is advocating mass murder, but simply to react one way or the other is not productive; it doesn’t make it go away.

Richard E. H. Phelps II