SOUTH NEWFANE — Dear Rep. Balint:
I am writing to you in response to recent remarks on VtDigger.
First, I want you to know that I, too, am horrified and saddened by the violence committed by both Hamas and Israel. I hope that you will take a moment to read why I support a ceasefire and why your responses so far have left me with much confusion.
You say that you are working with the Biden administration to push Israel to follow humanitarian and international laws related to this conflict. It should be clear that this is not working. Telling people to evacuate and then bombing the evacuation route probably breaks some law. And we all know that this has not happened out of the blue. Israel has a well documented history of attacking hospitals, homes, and schools of Palestinians.
As I listened to your excellent speech censuring Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, you mention how she pushed the lie that children were murdered in those school shootings. How could she say such when innocent children were killed and families destroyed, you asked.
But it is confusing to me when you won't sign onto the ceasefire bill that others in Congress are trying to introduce because continuing the bombing may help release the hostages taken by Hamas.
So are you saying that Palestinian children's lives (so far well over 2,000) are worth less than the hostages' lives? A ceasefire will save all lives.
You say that if you thought a ceasefire would make a difference, you would sign on. Do you really think your censuring speech, as excellent as it was, is going to change anything? If we do only things that we think will be a success, we will will never know - we have to keep trying.
I don't know how one can ask an oppressed population not to fight back and just accept punishment because of one's perceived otherness, whether it be Jews, African Americans, LGBTQ folks, women, Muslims.
And, no, it doesn't mean I support at all what Hamas has done. The way to insure peace is to stop the oppression, not blast a population to death. It's more than likely that more Hamas members are being recruited as a result of the way Israel is choosing to respond to this horror. Hamas won't be destroyed unless the remaining Palestinians feel safe in their homes and are allowed to live a normal life.
When I was a child, teachers would punish the whole class for the actions of one or two students. It never caused me to put pressure on those misbehaving students; it only caused resentment in me against the teacher.
The collective punishment of all Palestinians due to Hamas is wrong. This is causing more resentment and assuring that this violence will never cease.
It is past time win over the Palestinian confidence and assure that their human rights matter.
This Voices Letters from readers was submitted to The Commons.