The Press Herald’s coverage of the events in the Mideast this week appropriately termed the Israeli action “botched.” Insufficient Israeli intelligence (both “intel” and “smarts”) coupled with unnecessary activist provocation resulted in casualties and deaths.

Israel should be faulted for poorly implementing enforcement of what is, unfortunately, a necessary blockade. It is in force to prevent potential arms shipments (disguised as “humanitarian” aid) to a hostile regime defiantly and openly committed — not to peace, negotiations, or mutual coexistence — but to the violent destruction of Israel and its people.

Israel should have responded in a well-planned and creative fashion to disable or divert the ships, inspect shipments and promptly enable legitimate humanitarian aid. The flotilla’s sponsors (a melange of humanitarians, pro-Palestinian activists and terrorist sympathizers) are to be lauded for a public relations coup, focused on “stopping the blockade” that has resulted in vilification of Israel.

Global attention has been fully on the activists who were killed and injured. That happened despite the fact that emerging news and video of the Mavi Marmara boarding — including some from al-Jazeera — demonstrates “humanitarian” activists initiating mob violence, beating soldiers and nurturing an atmosphere of inflammatory anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli rhetoric that included stated aspirations of martyrdom.

So the first botch was bad enough. To avoid a more damaging and far reaching second botch, legitimate media and governments should avoid the “low-hanging fruit” of demonizing Israel and glorifying “humanitarian” activists. They must dispassionately ascertain and report the full scope, context and motivations regarding this incident.

Increased pressure on Israel to exercise restraint, and on Hamas to cease belligerency, would be a result worthy of the price paid by the dead and injured.

Stephen Blattner, M.D.

Cape Elizabeth

Gaza is ruled by a terrorist organization, Hamas, dedicated to the destruction of the state of Israel. They are holding an Israeli soldier prisoner in violation of international treaties, and have fired thousands and thousands of missiles into civilian areas in Israel since Israel (in a bid for peace) pulled out of Gaza in 2005.

This recent flotilla was organized by an Islamist group with proven ties to terrorist organizations. Prior to its sailing, Israeli authorities told them they could dock in Israel and undergo a security check, after which time any humanitarian aid would be delivered to Gaza by an international group.

This offer was repeated several times after the flotilla went to sea and was rejected every time. There is no country in the world that would allow ships to enter their waters under these conditions without a security check.

Many thousands of tons of supplies are delivered to Gaza every week and even Palestinian observers on the ground in Gaza (speaking anonymously, of course, for fear of reprisals) report there is no shortage of food there.

There is a blockade in place to prevent more bombs and weapons from entering Gaza (a blockade, by the way, that is also supported by Egypt).

Until the rulers in Gaza acknowledge Israel’s right to exist, I support the blockade and condemn this attempt to generate more anti-Israel publicity under the cynical guise of “humanitarian missions.”

Elizabeth Rosen

Cape Elizabeth

Israel can’t seem to win, no matter what. Every day rockets from the Palestinians in Gaza explode in Israel, yet the only thing reported is Israel’s attempt to make sure no weapons are being illegally brought into Gaza.

It raises a question when it is seen that the so-called “peaceful protesters” were ready with knives and pipes to attack the boarding party. There is no excuse for the way these members of a known terrorist group acted and there can be no excuse for the way American media is largely making this out to be an Israeli antagonist event.

Our politicians need to release a statement of support for Israel immediately. Israel is our only ally in the Middle East and has been our partner for decades — as opposed to any other Middle Eastern country.

Garfield H. Holmes Jr.

West Gardiner

How many nations, when surrounded by an enemy people, an enemy that vows to wipe them off the Earth, sit on their hands and do nothing? The answer, of course, is zero.

Israel has been under attack almost continually since she became a nation (for the third time in several millennia) in 1948. Israelis have every right to do whatever it takes to protect themselves.

I am an American who is behind Israel 1,000 percent. I pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

Robert A. White Sr.

Portland

Question 5 would bring millions to Maine for water

On June 8, the citizens of Maine will have the opportunity to vote on several bond issues.

Question 5 includes $10.25 million to support public drinking water and wastewater system improvements and to assist farmers in developing environmentally sound water sources. These funds will be matched by $33.25 million in federal and other funds.

Maintaining and improving our public drinking water and wastewater systems is a matter of public health. It is a challenge for our utilities to replace aging infrastructure and improve treatment technologies. It takes money to meet these challenges.

Passage of this bond issue is necessary for Maine to receive the 2010 federal matching grants for the Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Fund. This fund is used by public water and wastewater systems to finance needed capital improvements. Capital improvements that also equate to construction jobs in our state.

We need the $10.25 million that is included in Question 5 in order to leverage the $33.25 million in federal funds. Vote “yes” on Question 5 to continue our investment in public health and protection of our natural resources.

Tom Brennan

Chair, Maine Public Drinking Water Commission

Yarmouth