Letter to Editor: Israel-Hamas: Anything bad done by either side should be condemned

Politics / Tue 17th Oct 2023 at 08:38am

Dear Editor

I write in response to the letter of 16th October from John Wake (Letter to Editor: Robert Halfon has moral responsibility to condemn war crimes by Israel), as comments for that letter appear to be switched off.

Like John, I fully agree that, if it commits war crimes, the Israeli government should be called out. And so should Hamas. But I would like to make these two points:

(1) John said:

 “The recent despicable large-scale mistreatment and killing of unarmed Israeli civilians by the armed wing of Hamas are indefensible, but not inexplicable. When people are dehumanised, they are likely to behave in an inhumane fashion.”

There may be some truth in that. However, it is the stated aim of Hamas to destroy Israel, a fact even the BBC has reported. 

(See their story at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-67039975, where they state: 

“Hamas is a Palestinian militant group which has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007. The group is sworn to Israel’s destruction and wants to replace it with an Islamic state.”) 

So, even if the Israeli government was a paragon of virtue, they would still find themselves having to defend their population from Hamas attacks.

(2) For some reason, the world tends to hold Israel to a higher standard than the nations surrounding it. I wonder why that is.

In conclusion: anything bad done by either side should be condemned. We all need to pray for peace. And I’m sure readers will join me in condemning the sharp rise in antisemitic attacks reported by the Metropolitan Police.


Matthew Gillman

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