Mothers cowering in fear while clutching their children — during the Hamas attack and during years of Israeli occupation of Palestine. Assailants attacking innocent bystanders — during Israeli settler violence and during Hamas attacks. Americans killed — by Israeli soldiers and Palestinian "terrorists." Extremist provocateurs who ramp up hate and violence — right-wingers in Israel and Hamas. Vicious brutality followed by retaliation — on both sides. Ultimately, innocents on both sides suffer for the war crimes committed, supposedly to help their side.
But there are huge differences. Israelis are not daily deprived of freedom. Israeli children have plenty of food, water and houses. Israelis have good medical care. Israelis normally can go where they want, when they want. Palestinians on the West Bank have checkpoints, and Palestinians in Gaza are virtually imprisoned. Palestinians suffer malnutrition, scarce water, impoverished housing and unreliable access to medical care, all delivered by Israel and backed by U.S. power.
And the biggest differences: unequal attention and unequal power. Israel with its unconditional support from the U.S. has vastly more military power than the Palestinians. And anyone with half a sense of fairness can't miss the U.S. media's and U.S. government's outpouring of sympathy for Israelis after attacks on them. Not so for Palestinians.
It's not fair.
Jeanette Blonigen Clancy, Avon, Minn.
Regarding Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer's "'Unwavering support' fuels cycle of violence" (Opinion Exchange, Oct. 11): Nelson-Pallmeyer failed to deal with one very important issue. I suspect that Israel and Hamas could negotiate improvements for the Palestinians in Gaza except for one very large roadblock. Hamas does not so much as recognize Israel's right to even exist. In fact, Hamas is openly committed to Israel's obliteration. One can't even so much as talk with someone that is committed to obliterating you. Nelson-Pallmeyer's attribution that Hamas considers their actions to be "retaliatory" is indefensible. Time after time we have seen Hamas' retaliation for what it truly is: nothing but sheer hate! It is impossible to find a strategic motive to better their lives in some way in Hamas' "retaliation" other than killing Jews wherever and whenever they are able.
Terry Classen, Lake Elmo
Consider the following questions. Does Israel have a right to exist? If so, does it have a right to defend itself? If so, does it have a right to defend itself from an organization whose core principles are to kill Jews and wipe Israel off the map? Do I overstate? Have you read Hamas' charter? "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it" (preamble). And this: "The Day of Judgment will not come about until Moslems fight Jews and kill them. Then, the Jews will hide behind rocks and trees, and the rocks and trees will cry out: "O Moslem, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him'" (article 7).
This is not the language of legitimate resistance. This is the language of fanatical murderers. Final question: If it were your loved ones being murdered, would you support Hamas?
Craig M. Roen, St. Paul
For quite some time we have heard that U.S. intelligence failed to "connect the dots" leading to the attack on 9/11. We would hope that an "after action" analysis would lead to new insight as to preventive measures and signs to watch for. In the wake of the Hamas attack, we saw that much of the jihad was created by breaching the Israeli border. That being said, we need have an immediate assessment on our own southern border. Against the reality of on-scene border reporting, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas adamantly states the "border is secure." This can no longer be accepted. U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports a variety of immigration numbers including "got-aways" — a speculative number. We have no idea how many, who they are, where they came from and what their intent is.
Where is the logic and validity to "If you see something, say something" when we are open to the world to just walk in? Are we so shortsighted that, 22 years after 9/11, we fail to see the dots that are already connected?
Joe Polunc, Waconia
Finally, someone's making sense
I want to thank Minneapolis City Council Member LaTrisha Vetaw for her recent commentary "Rebuild the Third Precinct at its old home" (Opinion Exchange, Oct. 10). I have thought for some time that placing a precinct headquarters to serve and protect the residents of the Third Precinct outside of the Third Precinct just feels wrong and sounds ridiculous. The building didn't do anything to protesters, and residents and taxpayers in that part of the city need and deserve high-quality and readily available protection and safety measures. I appreciate Vetaw disavowing her earlier vote to move the precinct building and making clear that the protesters in the way of progress are a small and vocal group, that building in another location would cost at least an additional $10 million and that current Third Precinct officers work out of "an outdated and inadequate building downtown."
As a Minneapolis-cheerleading resident and taxpayer, I want reason to prevail and progress to be made. Thank you, Council Member Vetaw, for giving clear voice to yourself and other grown-ups in the room. I hope they listen and, like you, step up.
Nicole Valentine, Minneapolis
I truly appreciated and fully embraced the commentary by Council Member Vetaw. I am a resident of the Third Precinct, and I work in the Third Precinct. I was born and raised in the Third Precinct and still have family living within a mile of George Floyd Square. I could not agree more with the statement that "This city is stuck." On our block alone, we had vehicles broken into, and one was stolen that I know of so far. I went down to what is currently the Third Precinct, with a card of appreciation for the officers in our area who responded so quickly to our calls. I was absolutely shocked by the current conditions they are now working in. How long do all the officers have to be continually and repeatedly punished for another officer's abhorrent behavior? How long do these hardworking officers have to stay on a literal "time out"? I hope Vetaw's suggestion gains some traction, because what the council member said was very true and very clear: "[L]et's stop wasting time and money, and move forward ... ." Thank you, Council Member Vetaw!
Carla McClellan, Minneapolis
AMY CONEY BARRETT AT THE U
Student protest is creative, within bounds
Students at the University of Minnesota have the right to protest Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett's appearance on campus as a vehicle to show their opposition to her opinions expressed in her job on the court ("Hypocrisy rules in objections to Coney Barrett's U speech," Opinion Exchange, Oct. 11). Barrett accepted a public job that calls on her to issue her own opinions that can profoundly affect public policy. The youthful civic activists are free to protest her speech, thus expressing their own opinions about the job she is doing. They have not called for violence or expressed any hate or threatened those who disagree with them. They have called for students to show their views by ordering tickets they are entitled to and then leaving their seats empty. It is a creative approach to expressing their disapproval of Barrett's job performance. They deserve our appreciation for caring about how an appointed government official is doing and then acting responsibly to let her know.
There are far too many adults serving in Congress or running for office who protest with name-calling and threats. A current candidate for office only recently called the job performance of the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the military treasonous and then called for his execution. Thankfully the students at the U reject these tactics and use creativity and legal tactics to express their free speech.
Diane Pulling, Victoria