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EDITOR: Mona El-Farra’s Close to Home column (“Gaza knows suffering too well,” Saturday) omitted a key word: Hamas, the terror organization that has governed Gaza for 10 years. Hamas has instigated three wars with Israel because of incessant rocket fire against Israeli cities and towns, and it has launched terror attacks against Israeli civilians and — as has El-Farra — refused to accept Israel’s existence within any borders.

Hamas has diverted international aid to enrich its own leaders. Khaled Meshal, who recently stepped down as Hamas leader, has an estimated net worth of more than $2 billion. Imagine how many medical clinics could have been built with that money. In addition, Hamas has diverted shipments of cement meant for building civilian housing to build terror tunnels for attacks on Israel, even using child labor to build those tunnels.

Generations of Palestinians have suffered because of their leaders’ refusal, for more than 70 years, to accept living in peace alongside Israel. Their strategy of demanding the elimination of the Jewish state hasn’t served their people well. Maybe it’s time they tried peace instead of jihad.

MICHAEL HARRIS

Novato

GOP Grinches

EDITOR: Our gift to GOP Grinches everywhere this Christmas is understanding and advice. We understand why they would contrive to give away trillions in tax cuts to businesses and consumers. We also get that these tax cuts needed to be replaced, dollar for dollar, with borrowed money.

The notion that this new debt will be paid off by higher tax revenue in a stimulated economy is curious, but the spin is good and will fool people who just want change.

We are sorry that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office wasn’t fooled and concluded that the GOP payback scheme leaves at least $1 trillion of new debt unpaid. Don’t despair. The new deficit allows the GOP to leverage the destruction of Social Security and Medicare. If you can’t tax the rich, take it from the needy.

We understand the GOP, and you make America sick.

NED STUDHOLME

Santa Rosa

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