November 19, 2012

Letter to the Editor: A Call for Peace in Israel and Gaza

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Three rockets a day. That is the average number of rockets that have fallen on Israel from Gaza since 2001. That is the number of times you and I hear a chimes concert at Cornell.Over the past year alone, 700 rockets have fallen on Israel prior to the November 14 escalation. On November 14, Israel made the difficult decision that “Enough is enough.” The source of the violence needs to be dealt with. Like all countries, Israel has a right to defend itself from incessant attacks. That day, it hit 20 military sites, killing Ahmed Jabari, military chief of Hamas, the internationally-recognized terrorist organization responsible for the rocket attacks.Of course, collateral damage is inevitable in such a situation and civilians will be hurt, despite Israel’s heavy precautionary measures to minimize civilian casualties. That is painful to see. As a proud Israeli and American who is desperate for peace, I cringe each time I hear of another death. Both sides suffer from the conflict, and I pray for the day that it ends. But every country has a duty to protect its citizens.Hamas’ stated goal is the annihilation of the Jewish state. In its charter, Hamas rejects all negotiations with Israel, and does not accept Israel’s very existence. Hamas’ rockets are fired aimlessly, targeting civilian populations, with the sole purpose of terrorizing Israeli civilians. Through its actions, Hamas endangers both Israelis and Palestinians. Israelis and Palestinians want peace, and Hamas’ terrorism is counter-productive to supporting the Palestinian people.In 2007, Hamas staged a military coup, removing the former Palestinian leadership and killing 118 Palestinians, increasing their military presence and eliminating the moderate Palestinian leadership in Gaza. Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people’s aspirations for peace and normal life. As a supporter of peace in the region, I stand by Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas rocket fire and call for an end to Hamas’ aggression against Israel. In order to move forward toward peace, military aggression must be renounced.Yesterday, a group of students stood at Ho Plaza in solidarity with Israel, promoting peace. We unequivocally reject any and all of Hamas’ attempts at sabotaging the peace process by engaging in terror and rejecting all previous agreements between both parties. Israelis have the right to live without rocket attacks, and it is the duty of the Israeli government to ensure that they do so. Similarly, Palestinians in Gaza deserve a more peaceful and free life, and Hamas is failing to provide them with that, through its reckless shelling of civilian populations, rather than accepting the Jewish State and seeking to live alongside it. I pray for the day that both Israelis and Palestinians can enjoy security, freedom and peace in their respective homes.

Eli Shaubi ’13