December 3, 2012

For those of us who have relatives and friends in Israel, ombudsman Patrick B. Pexton’s dismissive comment about the showering of rockets on southern Israel for months being like “bee stings on the Israeli bear’s behind” was nothing short of scandalous [“Outrage over a front-page photo,” Sunday Opinion, Nov. 25]. Would he say the same if Mexico were showering rockets (no matter how primitive) on children in Texas? Does Israel’s strong defensive capacity, necessitated by hostile neighbors, make it acceptable for Gaza to shower rockets on Israel?

Carol Solomon,

Montgomery Village

Patrick Pexton ignores other issues that are germane to the discussion: Hamas purposely plants its weaponry in densely populated areas, thereby guaranteeing that retaliatory strikes by Israel will hit civilians; Hamas, unlike the Palestinian government in the West Bank, continues to seek an end to the state of Israel; and Hamas is the party that started firing rockets into civilian areas of Israel proper (i.e. not the West Bank, not the Golan Heights). At the least, Pexton should have pointed out those facts when discussing the very sad fates of innocent people on both sides.

Diana H. Wahl, Arlington

A thank you to ombudsman Patrick Pexton for strongly defending The Post’s publication of the photo showing a Palestinian man’s anguish over the needless death of his 11-month-old son. Yes, the rockets are provocative, but even more so is the retaliatory killing of the Gaza population by the Israeli military. The pain and anguish must be shown, not hidden.

Peter Hildebrand, Washington

Instead of bickering over whether publishing the photo was to one side’s or the other’s publicity advantage, we should focus on the image itself, which is essential to understanding what war does. It kills, maims, causes heartbreaking suffering for the innocent and diminishes all combatants and their supporters. I saw the photo, and I was moved to tears. I think we all need to see pictures of this sort to remind us of what happens when we decide that the way to settle disagreements is to wage battle. Whose enemy was that 11-month-old baby?

Angela Miotto, Greenbelt

I think Patrick Pexton has a fundamental misunderstanding about Hamas’s goals. Palestinian rockets from Gaza are intended to kill, and they have the ability to do so. If not for Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defense system, dozens more rockets would have rained down on civilians, presumably with deadly results. I am sure Hamas would vehemently deny its intentions are “bee stings.” I am also sure that the families of the Israelis killed by missiles would not categorize them as “bee stings.”

Nathan Edeson,

Brooklyn, N.Y.

Kudos to The Post for not only covering the news regarding Israel and Palestine but also for providing revealing information about the media war being waged by both sides. Paul Farhi’s Nov. 23 Style article, “Gaza photos draw bias accusations,” offered good quotes and summaries, especially this: “Complaints about bias flare with each spike in the struggle, but Hussein Ibish, a senior fellow at the Washington-based American Task Force on Palestine, isn’t convinced that either side dominates the media spin (‘the dishonesty is pretty damn even, really,’ he said), although he believes Israelis have the advantage of ‘cultural affinities’ with Western journalists — that is, ‘they speak American’ better than Palestinians.”

Anne Selden Annab, Mechanicsburg, Pa.