(Juneau Empire file photo)

Letter: Israel/Gaza war would end if Hamas surrender and return hostages. Why don’t they?

It is imperative to clarify some facts in Craig Wilson’s letter to the editor entitled “Israel violating international law with its response in Gaza” published in the Juneau Empire on Jan. 12.

The main arguments, resembling the far-left ideology and worldwide pro-Palestinian movement, are Gaza is a tiny and crowded land and, “Israel is flattening Gaza with bombs supplied by the U.S., demolishing nearly a quarter of the infrastructure and killing over 20,000 civilians in the process in clear violation of international humanitarian law.”

There is a different angle and perspective, however, to look at this region and its recent occurrences. The Gaza Strip is tucked among Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea. The strip is 25 miles long by 3.7 to 7.5 miles wide, and has a total area of 141 square miles. According to the CIA Factbook, it has 2.2 million people living in this area.

Over several decades, the Gaza government has received billions of dollars in aid and essential resources from the West to develop their infrastructure. But instead they invested this capital in building 350 miles of tunnels, obtained thousands of rockets from Iran and others, elected a terrorist organization, Hamas, to govern their people, and are instructing their children, from kindergarten on, to hate and eventually exterminate their nearest neighbor — Israel.

To make a proper comparison with Gaza, Singapore is a tropical island in Southeast Asia. It is about 275 square miles, smaller than the state of Rhode Island and nearly 12 times smaller than the City Borough of Juneau (3,255 square miles). Singapore is inhabited by over 5.2 million people, of which the resident population comprises of four major communities: Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasian.

The size and population of two regions are almost identical, with the Singapore population per square mile slightly larger than Gaza. Nevertheless, Singapore is one of the most advanced and developed countries in the world, including democratic system of governing, outstanding educational system, superb technology and sophisticated transportation system.

What is the most critical aspect for all peace-seeking nations to understand is on Oct. 7, 2023, Gaza/Hamas attacked Israel, heinously killed and mutilated 1,500 civilians in Israel, and kidnapped 240 hostages. Gaza terrorists wanted the war and initiated an aerial attack on Israel, launching randomly nearly 15,000 rockets to the populated areas of Israel. They did not ask Israelites to relocate to the south, north, west or east. They just indiscriminately dropped those rockets on the civilian population. And if Hamas had a nuclear weapon, they would use it without any hesitation.

The war would be over by now if Hamas surrender, get out of the tunnels, and return remaining hostages to their families. Why don’t they?

Alexander Dolitsky