A Gaza Mayor’s View of the Conflict
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Re “I Am Gaza City’s Mayor. Our Lives and Culture Are in Rubble,” by Yahya R. Sarraj (Opinion guest essay, nytimes.com, Dec. 24):

To the Editor:

Mr. Sarraj, I feel sad reading your piece. I’m particularly mourning the loss of your eldest son and the destruction of those parts of Gaza that have inspired you throughout your life. These terrible events are caused by war.

The people of Gaza celebrated the beginning of this war. Did they not know what would follow? And did you also not know?

And did you not know that Hamas’s stated goal is to destroy the state of Israel? And did you not know that if Hamas acted on this goal it would bring war on Gaza?

And yet in spite of knowing all this, you mention none of it in your article. Instead you suggest that Palestinians want to live in peace with their neighbors. But three quarters of Palestinians favored the Hamas invasion of Israel. Is this your idea of peace?

Did you not know that Hamas has built hundreds of miles of tunnels under your homes, hospitals and schools? And yet you wonder why Israel is bombing them.

If you are interested in peace, don’t you think a good starting place would be an honest description of what has happened between Israel and Gaza and not to pretend that Gaza is an innocent victim of indiscriminate military aggression?

Robert Niederman
Chapel Hill, N.C.

To the Editor:

I applaud The New York Times for publishing Yahya R. Sarraj’s impartial and earnest first-hand account of the horrific events unfolding in Gaza.

According to the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, Israel has now hit the Gaza Strip with the equivalent of two nuclear bombs.

The death toll has surpassed a staggering 21,000, of which more than 8,000 are children. More than 80 percent of the population — about 1.9 million people — has been displaced.

In a media atmosphere where any Palestinian voice is hastily silenced as antisemitic, I commend your journalistic integrity in bringing diverse viewpoints.

Asma Ahmad
Orange, Calif.

To the Editor:

Yahya R. Sarraj is no innocent. His essay is eloquent in its exposition of how Gaza was wronged by Israel. And it’s tragic that his son has been killed.

But he and his organization are responsible.

He is a Hamas appointee. He is part of the organization that conceived of and executed a horrific attack on Israel. He glosses over the attack. He fails to express horror at or condemn what occurred in Israel and seeks to deflect responsibility for the inhumane acts and commission of grotesque war crimes by Hamas. Instead he blames Israel.

He does not criticize Hamas’s actions over the years since Israel left the Gaza Strip in 2005. Or the tunnel city built to house weapons and hide the Hamas militants. Or the diversion of resources to build an organization bent on destroying Israel. Or the firing of thousands of rockets into Israel.

Mr. Sarraj’s essay is pure, unadulterated propaganda. It’s intended to give legitimacy to Hamas, a genocidal, evil organization and nothing more.

Why publish it?

Jeremy Levin
New York

To the Editor:

I commend you for publishing Mayor Yahya R. Sarraj’s guest essay, though you may get accused (unfairly in my view) of being pro-Hamas or antisemitic.

I think it’s very important for your readers to begin to get a feel for the pain and destruction caused by Israel’s counterattack following Hamas’s brutal attack on Oct. 7.

It’s important for the world to see even just this small sliver of the reality that the people in Gaza are suffering. It’s vital that we get truthful, objective information from both sides of this tragic conflict and not suppress information simply because it makes somebody uncomfortable.

This is a son of Holocaust survivors writing this.

Joseph Tein
Friday Harbor, Wash.

Reply to the article to the Mayor of Gaza City Yahya R. Sarraj

Jan. 1, 2024

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