A Gaza Mayor’s View of the Conflict

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  • Putin Won’t Benefit From Western Business Exits for Long
  • The Supreme Court’s Abortion Pill Case
  • Pets and Social Media

Credit…Montaser Alsawaf/Anadolu via Getty Images

To the Editor:

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

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 letter 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 letter 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.

Putin Won’t Benefit From Western Business Exits for Long

Credit…Pool photo by Alexander Kazakov/Sputnik

To the Editor:

Re “How Putin Turned a Western Boycott into a War Chest Bonanza” (front page, Dec. 19):

Your article paints a strong picture of the Kremlin’s assault on business and investor rights for those companies trying to exit Russia, but misses the mark on some important points.

While it is true that the Kremlin has subverted the rules governing business exits to shore up its finances and political support in the short term, in doing so, it has broken every investor law out there.

With these expropriations, Russia will forgo Western investments and credits for the foreseeable future. Kremlin-style “waronomics” gives only a very temporary and artificial boost. Vladimir Putin’s policies now will considerably weaken Russia’s growth prospects, even in the medium term.

Businesses are also not helpless bystanders; they have a choice. Rather than wait for expropriation while running the serious and growing risk of complicity in Russia’s war crimes, they should face their dilemma head-on.

The Russian government de facto already controls the assets of businesses that remain in Russia. That is why companies need to make an ethical and swift exit strategy, based on enhanced human rights and due-diligence processes that minimize benefits for the Russian state.

Where no credible sale option exists, and in the face of clear and direct contributions to mass human harm, companies should write down the loss and/or take the case to international arbitration or seek other legal remedies.

What are they waiting for?

Tymofiy Mylovanov
Nataliia Shapoval
Eleanor Nichol
Mr. Mylovanov is Ukraine’s former minister of economic development and the president of the Kyiv School of Economics. Ms. Shapoval is chair of the Kyiv School of Economics Institute. Ms. Nichol is the executive director of the B4Ukraine Coalition.

The Supreme Court’s Abortion Pill Case

The case began in November last year, when anti-abortion medical organizations and a few doctors filed a lawsuit claiming that the F.D.A. had unlawfully approved the drug mifepristone decades ago.Credit…Haiyun Jiang for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Supreme Court Plans to Hear Challenge to Abortion Pill Access” (news article, Dec. 14):

It is scientifically and ethically absurd that our highest court will even consider that an “abortion pill” was not sufficiently evaluated. Over 30 years ago, I was part of the team that first brought this medication to the United States from Europe, where it had already been shown to be safe and effective. The American Medical Association agreed, with a policy statement I drafted. It still took the F.D.A. over four years to approve it — hardly a hasty process.

Since then, vast research and clinical experience have confirmed its judgment. Our courts are supposed to be above politics and to honor our constitutional separation of church and state.

Most of the anti-choice activists challenging this medication are avowedly “Christian.” That any court, let alone the Supreme one, will even entertain their blatant disregard for medical science, women’s reproductive needs, our Constitution and strong American majority opinion is a national embarrassment.

Steve Heilig
San Francisco

Pets and Social Media

My Year of Being Extremely Online About Dogs

To the Editor:

Re “My Year of Being Very Online About Dogs,” by Alicia P.Q. Wittmeyer and MarkPeckmezian (Opinion, Dec. 24):

I read this piece to Idaho, my 11-year-old, 70-pound, generally well-behaved goldendoodle. We thereafter agreed to maintain our longstanding decision to avoid all forms of social media.

I find those platforms essentially vacuous, and because he lacks opposable thumbs, Idaho has trouble handling small electronic devices.

Joseph D. McInerney
Lutherville, Md.

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