Your front-page column by Leslie Susser (“Israel facing tough choices on Gaza as criticism of blockade mounts,” June 11) was quite informative.
Israel rightly insists its naval blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory will continue. It was imposed in June 2007 after Hamas violently expelled Fatah and seized power from President Abbas’ Palestinian Authority.
After hundreds of Hamas rocket attacks were fired indiscriminately on Israeli citizens from Gaza, Israel was forced to take defensive measures. This included imposing a blockade to prevent weapons, weapons’ manufacturing parts, bunker-building materials, and rockets out of Gaza. The Israeli government may well ease restrictions on the blockade but not lift it entirely under present conditions.
It is outrageous that Gilad Shalit is still held hostage by Hamas and not allowed a compulsory visit by the International Red Cross in violation of the Third Geneva Convention of 1949. Hamas must be made to heed the calls by the U.S., European Union, France, and other countries to free Shalit.
The Obama administration must strongly support Israel, its only democratic and reliable ally in the Middle East during this crisis created by its enemies. To do otherwise is to send the wrong message to terror groups everywhere.