Readers write about comparing the actions of Hamas and Israel.
Regarding the Dec. 31 Opinion piece, "Israel, Hamas, and moral idiocy": It seems to me that the distinction drawn in author Alan Dershowitz's commentary between the deliberate targeting of civilians by Hamas rockets and the collateral civilian deaths caused by Israel's military strikes is an important distinction. Surely it is worse to deliberately target civilians than to kill them accidentally.
Yet, it also seems to me that Dershowitz stops short of a full analysis. How does he measure the suffering of Palestinians under Israeli occupation? What means of resistance against the expansion of illegal settlements would he permit as legitimate? These are questions Dershowitz does not ask himself, for he prejudges any sympathy for the plight of the Palestinian people as an apology for terrorism.
For my own part, I have abandoned any attempt at assigning measures and summing values; the effort to formulate the conflict in a way that pits "good guys" against "bad guys" is vain and counterproductive. The history is too tangled, the misunderstandings too mutual, and too tragic, for that. There are only actions that promote peace, which both sides have failed too often to take, and actions that promote conflict, which both sides too often find too easy to take.