Commentators Jason Blavatt and Ellen Ginsberg Simon point out that "Hamas is striking out to gain the world's attention" in order to "hurt Israel's image by depicting her as a bloodthirsty violator of international norms" ("Hamas' unjust war," July 31).

But they cite this as if it were merely a virtual reality rather than actual heinous acts being perpetrated against real innocent people. Their description of the killing of citizens as an "image" problem highlights a number of obvious truths:

Number one, if Israel is really concerned about its image, it needs to immediately cease the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians.

Number two, if Israel continues to demonstrate a total disregard for both human "collateral damage" as well for international law, it should expect its image will not only be tarnished, but there will likely be a spike in anti-Semitism.

For the writers to refer to Israel's murderous rampage as a "depiction" by Hamas — as if Israel is an innocent victim — is either disingenuous or short-sighted.

From my point of view I see the writers' opinions as a smoke screen to ward off world opinion from condemning the Israeli military as war criminals, as it should. Hamas is certainly not without culpability, but its actions are not a license for Israel to murder anyone who gets in the way of its lust for revenge.

Steve Weaver, Baltimore

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