Recent Letter Presented Skewed Version of Events

    The eight days of bombardment referred to the operation “Pillars of Defense,” which Israel carried out between November 14-21 in response to unrelenting rocket attacks from Gaza by the terror organizations Hamas and Islamic Jihad, both of whom are openly committed to eradicating Israel. Sanchez et al., provide no evidence for their cause-and-effect version of the violence, which is not surprising since none exists outside perhaps a parallel universe where time flows in reverse.

    If readers want to know which version of events is accurate, they need only Google the keywords “Gaza” and any date just prior to the start of Israel’s eight-day campaign and they will find an ample amount of news reports of rocket fire from Gaza into Israel and Israel’s warnings to Hamas to cease and desist. For example on Nov. 12, Reuters news service reported “Gaza militants launched 10 rockets into southern Israel by midday Monday… The barrage ramps up pressure on the Israeli government to stage a large-scale operation aimed at stopping the persistent attacks.” A press release by the French government stated, “France strongly condemns the firing of rockets from Gaza targeting the population of southern Israel.” So how could Hamas’ rocket attacks be in response to Israel’s 8-day operation, as Sanchez et al. claim, if they were occurring before the start of that operation? In fact, in the 10 months leading up to Israel’s Nov. 14 military operation, over 800 rockets had been fired into Israel. Here is President Obama’s take on who started the violence from his press conference on Nov. 18, 2012: “Let’s understand what the precipitating event here was that’s causing the current crisis, and that was an ever-escalating number of missiles that were landing not just in Israeli territory but in areas that are populated.” He added, “[T]here is no country on earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders. So we are fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself from missiles landing on people’s homes.”

    Likewise, leaders of Canada, UK, Germany, France, the EU and just about every other democratic country supported Israel’s operation as a legitimate act of self-defense. Sanchez et al. also decry Israel’s blockade of Gaza but ignore the fact that it was implemented in 2007 only after the takeover of Gaza by Hamas and subsequent attacks on Israeli citizens launched from Gaza. They also claim it is illegal but a recent UN investigation concluded that it was, in fact, perfectly legal under international law as “a legitimate exercise of the right of self-defense” (see UN Palmer report). Shame on Sánchez, Martin-Cabrera and Thorpe for trying to alter facts to fit their well-known political views on the Jewish state.

    David Feifel, M.D., Ph.D.

    Professor, School of Medicine

    Neal Swerdlow, M.D., Ph.D.

    Professor, School of Medicine

    Pamela Cosman, Ph.D.

    Professor, Jacobs School of Engineering

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