A recent letter (” ‘Pro-Palestinian’ activists in Portland miss their mark,” Aug. 2) presents “facts” to counter “claims.” These invite further dialogue.

Hamas fired rockets into Israel, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu needed little provocation, having leapt to assign blame for the West Bank teens’ disappearance and to call for vengeance against Hamas. Many argue that the original violence of one side against the other was Israel’s, in the increasingly harsh aspects of its control over Gaza.

We are told that Israel is not “bent on genocide.” Say what you will, but consider the bombing of homes, schools, shelters, hospitals, ambulances, wells and the sole electrical grid of an entire population.

The world should weep for any Israeli child experiencing war, but we cannot act as if “a wild disparity of deaths did not exist,” as Yale Professor David Bromwich wrote recently on The Huffington Post. The suffering borne by Palestinian children is excruciating to imagine. There are numbers. There are names.

Hamas failed to provide Israeli citizens with what the letter writer calls the “luxury” of rocket-launch warnings, unlike the Israeli Defense Forces, who “tapped” the roofs of Gaza dwellings a few minutes before demolishing them. “Luxury” seems a strange choice of words.

Israel may simply want to live in peace. Assumedly, its oppressive measures are necessary as self-protection. But one prays their leaders at least privately acknowledge their abandonment of ethical standards in the name of such protection. States make choices. Terrible things are done as means to an end.

Demonstrators are motivated by current frustration, but also by our own country’s unquestioning eagerness to be Israel’s military partner, now more than ever. Maine’s senators formally blessed Israel’s operation at the outset.

One wonders if the letter writer knows what “mark” activists are aiming for. He calls them “pro-Palestinian.” How about “pro-humanity”?

Nancy Aldrich

Cape Elizabeth