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Ruth Smith: It is up to Hamas to renounce violence

Hamas bandanas are displayed for sale on a mannequins head, left, as tens of thousands of Hamas supporters attend a rally to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the assassination of the group's spiritual leader in an Israeli airstrike, in Gaza City, Sunday, March 23, 2014. The Islamic militant group's top leadership was on hand for Sunday's rally, and thousands of people holding Hamas flags and wearing Hamas bandanas have turned downtown Gaza City into a sea of green. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

Hamas bandanas are displayed for sale on a mannequins head, left, as tens of thousands of Hamas supporters attend a rally to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the assassination of the group's spiritual leader in an Israeli airstrike, in Gaza City, Sunday, March 23, 2014. The Islamic militant group's top leadership was on hand for Sunday's rally, and thousands of people holding Hamas flags and wearing Hamas bandanas have turned downtown Gaza City into a sea of green. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

To the editor:

Many of us who support Israel bemoan the loss of innocent lives in Gaza as well as in Israel, be they many or few. Many protesters take the media comments and images from the conflict at face value without understanding the complexity of the situation.

Many, both outside and inside Israel, want peace with the Palestinians, both in the West Bank and Gaza.

The Hamas charter calls for the destruction and non-recognition of Israel and the killing of every Jew. Hamas refuses to repudiate its charter. Until this changes and while Hamas continues to be the first to lob missiles into Israel, breaking every ceasefire, Israel has no choice but to fight back.

Unfortunately, in 2005, when Israel withdrew from Gaza, instead of using materials to build its infrastructure and economy to help the Palestinians, Hamas and the other terrorists in Gaza used the materials to build tunnels and more missiles to continue to implement its charter.

Until such time as extremists both in Gaza and Israel are no longer allowed to drive the conflict, it will be difficult for more peace-minded Israelis and Palestinians to exert a solution and find a way to live together, perhaps in two states, side by side.

Ruth Smith

Amherst

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