Jason Blavatt and Ellen Ginsburg Simon ask "Why is Israel held to a double standard?" ("Hamas' unjust war," Aug. 4),

It is true that there is a double standard for Israel, but not in the way that is suggested.

Israel's violation of international laws is almost always overlooked while the media focuses instead on comparing Israel favorably with "rogue" states. Were Israel to be held to the same standards as we expect of most other countries, you would find that it falls far short of holding the high moral ground that it claims.

Israel has violated almost all of the 30 Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, even though it is a signatory to this document (as well as the following agreements).

Israel has violated the Geneva Accords in many ways: inserting its citizens into occupied territory practicing collective punishment, control through walls and checkpoints and incarceration without due process.

Israel has violated U.N. Resolution 242, which prohibits annexing territory won by war.

Israel has violated its agreement to U.N. Resolution 194, the right of return for Palestinians to return to their homes (this was in exchange for U.N. recognition).

Israel has no constitution despite having promised to enact one as a condition of its statehood recognition. It does have laws, but they discriminate between Jews and other citizens of Israel.

Israel has used weaponry that is banned by international law, e.g., white phosphorus (in Operation Cast Lead).

Israel's claim to be a democracy is belied by its claim to be a Jewish democracy, a contradiction in terms. Israel is obviously an ethnocracy, a state with laws benefiting one ethnic group exclusively.

As for the assertion that "Hamas' tactic is not only to turn the world against Israel but against all Jews," this was refuted by Khaled Meshal, Hamas' leader, who said in an Aug. 3 interview with Charlie Rose on CBS: "We do not actually fight the Jews because they are Jews, per se. We do not fight any other races. We fight the occupiers."

One always hears: "We support Israel's right to defend itself." What about Palestinians' right to defend themselves," to be treated as human beings, with rights accruing thereto?

The demands which Hamas has made for a cease-fire are demands which accrue to most people without question: freedom of movement and freedom to live their lives as they wish without interference and control.

Yes, there are riots in Europe in support of the Palestinians, but the basis of these riots appears to be against the policies of the Israeli government, not anti-Semitic, although if these policies continue unabated, it could unfortunately get out of hand.

Doris Rausch, Columbia

-
To respond to this letter, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com. Please include your name and contact information.