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Israeli armoured personnel carriers and tanks are seen at a staging area near the border with the Gaza Strip on Nov. 19, 2012. (RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)
Israeli armoured personnel carriers and tanks are seen at a staging area near the border with the Gaza Strip on Nov. 19, 2012. (RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)

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Nov. 20: Mideast strategies, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Mideast strategies

Re World Works For A Ceasefire As Israel, Hamas Trade Blows (Nov. 19): The most sensible answer to this problem, although only an interim one, is to get Egypt to broker a ceasefire and then provide troops to enforce it. A condition will obviously be to halt all settlements in the West Bank. That is reality, which is sadly lacking in this whole mess.

David Schooling, Oakville, Ont.

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Despite the dramatic conflict in the Middle East, an event was held in Toronto on the weekend that brought Muslims and Jews together in a program designed to promote mutual understanding and co-operation.

The 5th Annual Weekend of Twinning, which consists of 250 Muslim and Jewish organizations in 26 countries on four continents, is supported by the Canadian Association of Jews and Muslims, whose mandate is to counter problems faced by both communities, and to provide positive interaction between Canadian Muslims and Jews.

It is not easy to maintain the high ideals of bilateral co-operation when the news is filled with images of rockets and casualties and death. Shahid Akhtar, co-chair with Barbara Landau of CAJM, gave an impassioned plea to pray for peace, and for all to feel the pain of Palestinian mothers and children as well as Israeli mothers and children. He further noted that we must continue to guard against anti-Semitism and Islamaphobia.

As a member of Temple Emanu-El, participating with the Noor Cultural Centre in the Twinning Weekend, I experienced the emotion of his words. It is an important message to remember and carry forward during this difficult time.

Helen Poizner, Toronto

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I wonder if the new troubles in the Gaza strip are an Iranian “Trojan Horse” operation. Has Iran ordered its Hamas surrogates in Gaza to take pot shots at Israel in order to deflect the Israelis from dealing with the bigger issue of Iran’s nuclear weapons program? If so, it looks like it’s working.

Might Iran be hoping the world will again decry the loss of Palestinian lives resulting from Israel firing back into Gaza, thereby neutralizing Israel’s legitimacy to take a near-term “first strike” action against Iran’s nuclear weapon facilities? How predictable.

Barry Parker, Calgary

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Your editorial (Israel’s Right Of Return Fire – Nov. 15) argues that “Israel is right to be responding swiftly and forcefully to bombardment from Gaza.” A tentative ceasefire between Israel and Hamas had been facilitated by Egypt on Nov. 13. Unfortunately, Israel broke the ceasefire the next day by an airstrike that killed Hamas military commander Ahmed Jaabari and several others, “which appeared to end a 24-hour lull in cross-border violence that surged this week,” according to a news report that morning.

In light of the missed opportunity for a temporary halt to the killing on both sides, how can The Globe justify its editorial position that “the death of Hamas’s military commander, Ahmed Jaabari, in an Israeli airstrike, is nothing to regret”?

Ben More, Port Hope, Ont.

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On the streets

I was struck by a small historical note in Ian Brown’s beautifully written Love’s Outer Reaches (Focus, Nov. 17). He noted that Phillipe Pinel’s writing in 1794, Memoir on Madness, resulted in the mentally disabled finally receiving institutional care, rather than being left to live and die on the streets.

How little we learn. Sadly, too many mentally disabled once again live and die on our streets. Respecting the rights of the differently abled should not mean abandoning our duty to care for those who cannot care for themselves. Yet, abandon them we have. It is we who have failed.

Judy McGuire, New Westminster, B.C.

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Same as, same as

I don’t disagree that the new Chinese leadership is very similar to the old leadership, but did you really expect more change (Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss – editorial, Nov. 19)?

How many people outside Canada could distinguish boss Stephen Harper from former boss Paul Martin, even if the differences are perfectly apparent to all who follow Canadian matters?

Obviously, Barack Obama, Angela Merkel and Julia Gillard are different from their predecessors. But to the outside world, all three are primarily chief champions, the No. 1 cheerleaders for their respective countries. That is no different than boss Harper’s responsibility to Canadians, or the new Chinese bosses’ to China.

It may be disappointing that no one in the new Chinese leadership appears to be a Mikhail Gorbachev – but then again, no one appears to be a Hugo Chavez, either.

Ian McKay, Georgetown, Ont.

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Spend it

I share the frustration (Dirty 30s Lessons – letters, Nov. 19) at the failure to learn from the Great Depression, which is leading to wrong-headed policies of cutting government spending. More than monetary policies to keep interest rates low, we need public spending, for instance on some of the badly needed infrastructure problems Canada faces.

Would this risk leading to inflation? Yes, but if it is kept under control, say less than 5 per cent, it would stimulate the economy. Corporations that are sitting on huge reserves would invest those funds, rather than see their value reduced by inflation.

Brian Northgrave, Ottawa

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A special child

There were many thoughtful stories about children in the weekend Globe. The most touching, however, wasn’t by a Globe reporter or columnist. It was on the letters to the editor page (Thanks, Mats – Nov. 17), from the family of Arlen Maxwell, about how a visit from a Maple Leafs player made one day very special for Arlen, who was then undergoing chemo at Sick Children’s Hospital. Thanks to the family for sharing their story, and to Mats Sundin for striding into that hospital room.

Lynne Epp, Ottawa

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Hogtown high

What a great time to be a fan of pro sports in Toronto. The Blue Jays are the talk of the town and Major League Baseball after bulking up for a potential “return to glory.” The Argos have fought their way into the 100th anniversary Grey Cup game, at home, thrilling die-hard fans and attracting a new generation of “believers” (Battle Lines Drawn For Historic Game – Sports, Nov. 19). To top it all off, it’s the third week of November and the Maple Leafs have yet to lose a game.

Usually, the only parade you see in old Hogtown at this time of year features some guy in a red suit and a herd of reindeer. Maybe Christmas will come early this year. For some, it already has.

Jeffrey Peckitt, Oakville, Ont.

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