Editor, Index-Tribune:

Israel accuses the militant Hamas of terrorism and insists on the right to defend itself. But Israel hasn’t always been in charge. Sixty-eight years ago, the Jews in Palestine felt the oppression of the British Mandate. A group of revisionist Zionists formed a military, right-wing group called the IRGUN to form a Jewish state by any means, and it was commanded by Menachen Begin from 1943 to 1948.

He gave the order to bomb British headquarters at the King David hotel in Jerusalem, on July 22, 1946, that killed 13 British soldiers, 68 civilians – both Arabs and Jews – with 46 non-fatal causalities. Begin was vilified for his brutality by David Ben Gurion, later Israel’s first Prime Minister.

Begin’s defense was that he gave forewarning of the bomb. How was Begin later received?

His IRGUN became the Herut Party, and later the militant LIKUD party, under which he became the sixth Prime Minister. Later, in 1978, he was co-awarded the Nobel Peace prize, and in 2004 the Heritage Center in Jerusalem was named for him. It is now his same evolving Israel that continues to oppress the occupied Gaza Strip, refuses to acknowledge the democratically elected Hamas and kills the Gazans, “as long as necessary,” with the same defense of having forewarned them of the invasion.

Bob Gmelin