No one who has an ounce of human feeling could fail to be moved by Laila Barhoum’s account in her May 16 Sunday Opinion essay, “In Gaza, we dread nights and wait for the next strike,” of those in Gaza who are trapped in a war zone by the actions of rulers over whom they have no power. Hamas’s and the Islamic Jihad’s leaders knew full well when they launched thousands of rockets to kill, maim and destroy the material sinews of the civilization of Jews and Arabs living in Israel what would happen to Gazan civilians. This is the fourth time Gaza’s rulers and their allies have mounted their rocket launchers on the streets, sidewalks and buildings of the trapped Gazans in another mad effort to drive the Jews living next door into the sea. Desperate, Ms. Barhoum and her fellow sufferers imagine that President Biden can rescue them. For reasons too numerous to list here but that he recognizes, he cannot. The oppressed Gazans’ plight is tragic beyond belief.

The only possible solution to the Gazans’ plight is peace between Israel and the West Bank Palestinians, and their joining hands to put an end to the terrorist dictatorship in Gaza. That’s not impossible, because Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will surely not be part of the next Israeli government and Palestinian Authority leaders surely recognize by now that “returning” substantially more than 5 million “refugees” to an Israel where all but a few have never lived is a barrier to peace.

George B. Driesen, Bethesda

The writer is a rabbi.

I am an observant Jewish woman. At the ceremony that made me one, I received candlesticks that said they were “made in Palestine.” In 1948, Jewish people all over the world celebrated the birth of Israel. Through the years, there has always been strife, but the state has survived many confrontations with its neighbors. The recent trouble in Gaza is extremely sad.

 Although I have a strong allegiance to Israel, I yearn for peace with all its neighboring countries, and most Jewish Americans have their opinions about how that can be achieved. The parties themselves must come to the realization that coexistence is paramount and peace will come only when there is “give and take” on all sides. 

Tearfully, I watched the rockets and the faces of those who are witnessing death and destruction. This must end. I fervently pray that soon this part of the Middle East will negotiate a peaceful settlement. Israel, with all of its amazing growth and production and with a population so dedicated, resourceful and humanitarian, should find a way to assist, not resist, its neighbors. 

Alice L. Haber, Frederick

In the May 16 news article “Israeli-Palestinian conflict: A chronology,” the most important date is missing. The current conflict did not start on May 15, 1948, when the British mandate for Palestine ended and Israel declared its independence. It started several months earlier, on Nov. 29, 1947, when the U.N. General Assembly voted for partition of the area, with fixed boundaries, into Jewish and Arab states.

I was there and clearly remember that night. Jews were dancing in the streets to celebrate, but the Arab response was to begin attacking Jewish areas with the stated declaration of pushing the Jews into the sea. And the rest, as they say, is history. 

Tom LauferColumbia