Your recent editorial on Israel's invasion of Gaza mistakenly blames Hamas for initiating the violence, rather than placing the blame squarely on Israel, where it belongs ("Another war in Gaza," July 17).

As it did in 2008, Israel knowingly provoked Hamas into firing rockets so that it would have an excuse to bomb Gaza into extinction. Israel opposes any Hamas-Fatah reconciliation government and will do whatever is necessary to prevent it from happening.

Columnist William Pfaff correctly stated that in Gaza, as on the West Bank, "Israel has been and remains in illegal military control of lands and people who, under international law and the 1948 United Nations decision awarding two defined and separate parts of Mandate Palestine to Jews and Palestinians, should be a free people in possession of their own lives and property."

The United States and the European Union should defend the Arab victims of these events, not the perpetrators of their oppression.

Ray Gordon, Bel Air

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