Commentator Adil E. Shamoo overlooks two crucial points necessary to understanding the current Israel-Hamas conflict ("Israel's unjust war," Aug. 1).

First, Hamas under its charter and by the statements of its leaders is committed to Israel's destruction. Given those circumstances, Israel has the right under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter to defend itself.

Second, while Mr. Shamoo correctly bemoans the civilians killed in the current war between Israel and Hamas, there is a moral issue he overlooks: Who bears the greater moral responsibility – Hamas, which places its rockets and fighters in heavily populated Palestinian areas, or Israel, which responds to the rockets fired from those heavily populated areas?

Robert O. Freedman, Baltimore

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