Letter writer Judy Chernak eloquently addresses the realities of fighting a war against a terrorist organization that has enmeshed itself in a civilian population ("Hamas must give up its rockets before talks can proceed," July 29). Every Palestinian child who dies is considered by Hamas to be a martyr and a worthwhile sacrifice. Their belief system values death over life. Those who sacrifice their lives receive many riches and their families are honored.

At the same time, Hamas astutely recognizes that the rest of the world values life over death, and they also realize that the media focus on the civilians who are killed and that grieving families benefits their cause.

All people, including Israelis, grieve for the loss of these children and civilians. But Hamas planned for their demise knowing it would fuel their cause. After all, when Israel directly notified Palestinians to leave Gaza before the fighting, Hamas urged them to stay and then placed weapons caches alongside children and their families. Can you imagine if we were under attack and our leaders asked us to stay in the war zone?

Carol Pollack-Nelson, Rockville

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