If Israel’s government can instead be persuaded to display restraint, possibly as one element in a U.S.-brokered deal with Saudi Arabia and Israel, an odds-defying agreement might yet be struck.

There are many in Israel calling for what would surely be a bloody invasion of Gaza to free the hostages. The unlikelihood of bringing many of them back by force of arms, at whatever cost in lives, should give Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pause.

The political capital he would gain by finally achieving Saudi diplomatic recognition might give him the leverage with his domestic opponents to sustain a policy of deep restraint, and with his Hamas foes in negotiating for a mutual exchange of captives.

Richard Steinberg
Columbia, Md.

To the Editor:

Re “As Netanyahu Speaks of War, the Question Is, ‘What Then?’” (news analysis, front page, Oct. 8):

The latest Israeli-Palestinian violence is a tragic but inevitable outcome of decades of American indulgence of illegal and immoral Israeli policies that have hardened attitudes and relegated Palestinians to a stateless people living under apartheid conditions.

Ironically, while our country rushes to sanction and isolate Russia for its illegal invasion of Ukraine, we help finance Israel’s illegal occupation while blocking United Nations sanctions that would hold Israel accountable for violating Palestinian human rights and international law.



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