Robert Frey’s Aug. 15 letter “Use Diplomacy Not Bombs,” while obviously sincere and heartfelt, is also hopelessly naive and misleading. True, the U.S.- led efforts to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons have been successful but by most reports haven’t accounted for all of Assad’s arsenal and has been described by some Middle East experts as a smokescreen for the West’s ineptitude in dealing with Assad.
There has been no tangible success with diplomacy with Iran either. The Geneva Interim Agreement last year was purely cosmetic and merely delays Iran’s ability to produce weapons-grade nuclear material by 12 to 18 months, nine of which have already passed.
U.S. weapons are not “fueling this conflict” (Gaza), it’s Iranian and Hamas weapons that are fueling it. Disarming Hamas would mean an end to the misery of civilians, Palestinian and Israeli alike.
Finally, while the International Committee of the Red Cross can call the so-called “blockade” collective punishment, it can’t call it illegal. According to International Law, a blockade must be “declared and announced, effective, nondiscriminatory, and it has to permit the passage of humanitarian assistance to the civilian population.” Israel declared the blockade in 2009; it has been effective to the extent that Israel can control. It does not discriminate against any particular segment of the Gazan population, and humanitarian assistance has always been allowed into Gaza from five crossing points between Israel and Gaza. During the first five months of this year, more than a quarter of a million tons of supplies have entered Gaza from Israel, and 60,000 Gazans have entered Israel for work, medical attention or family reunification in the West Bank.
Everyone hopes for an end to conflict worldwide, but while diplomacy has its value, sometimes turning the other cheek just gets you slapped twice.