From Ruth Zakh
Journalism around the world enjoys shared standards. If you publish an article of four pages attacking Israel, 1,100 of whose citizens, including 134 Israeli children, were killed by deliberate Palestinian terror attacks, it would seem only fair to seek comment from Israel prior to publication. Your paper did not do so in the wake of last Sunday's cover story.
The citizens of southern Israel have been bombarded by more than 12,000 rockets and mortar shells since 2001. Israel left Gaza completely in 2005 – the Hamas rocket attacks continued. Israel appealed time and again to the international community to stop the Hamas terror regime from launching these attacks, to no avail. Since the end of last year's military action, 390 more rockets and mortars have landed in Israel.
Israel was forced to undertake the military action in Gaza precisely in order to stop the terror against its citizens. Despite the often misleading casualty numbers suggested by some Palestinian groups, the only people targeted by Israel, and the majority of those killed in Gaza by this operation, were in fact armed militants.
The Palestinian people are not Israel's enemies; they are our neighbours, and the tears of a Palestinian mother are no different from those of an Israeli mother mourning a dead child.
Israel never targets civilians on purpose, and it went to great efforts to avoid harm to civilians. As in other operations by western nations fighting to safeguard their values around the world, these efforts do not always succeed, and some innocent people get hurt, especially when their leaders, instead of protecting them, use them as human shields. On the other hand, the children of southern Israel were targeted deliberately; the rockets were fired directly at them, or they were shot by snipers, or killed in other attacks.
Peace will be achieved between Israel and the Palestinians because we owe it to our children. Unbalanced journalism that shows only the victims of one side in a conflict, while demonising the other side, is of no help in contributing to either an understanding or a resolution of the conflict.
If pictures of suffering are what is needed to convey the suffering of Israelis to editors and readers, I hope that your newspaper will be fair-minded enough to publish them.
Ruth Zakh, Counsellor, Embassy of Israel, Dublin 4
From Hugh Harkin
What a strong article you published on Sunday – "Gaza stripped of all that's human".
Just a quick note to thank you, and to encourage you to publish more such pieces and to maintain an editorial line on this issue that repudiates the Israeli stance that such (ongoing) barbarity can be justified.
Hugh Harkin, Raheny, Dublin 5
From Rosario Walsh
I just wish to pass my thanks to Patrick Freyne and Khalil Shahin for the article "Gaza stripped of all that's human". I'm so glad that the plight of Palestinians in Gaza has again been brought to notice, in spite of other horrors happening elswhere in the world. Looking to more good coverage in the future.
Rosario Walsh, Kill, Co Kildare
From Anne Key
Thank you for publishing a very insightful article on Gaza.
In these days of claims and counterclaims, propaganda and media hype, it is truly refreshing to see a journalist committed to reporting the human suffering associated with military conflicts.
I have visited Palestine on numerous occasions, and have seen first-hand the day-to-day life of people living under a 42-year military occupation. An excellent, compassionate article.
Anne Key, Penrith, Cumbria, UK
From Elaine Daly
Just a quick email to thank you for your excellent article on Gaza in yesterday's paper. I actually went to the photo exhibition in Filmbase on Friday evening, so your article complemented that. Keep up the good work – we need to see more of the same.
Elaine Daly, firstname.lastname@example.org