Letter: 'Double standards' over Israel's expulsions

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The Independent Online
Sir: H. C. B. Mackenzie (Letters, 21 December) misunderstood me: I did not question our Government's right to criticise Israel - only its moral authority to do so.

Like Israel, Britain has been engaged for many years in a struggle against terrorism. Neither Mr Major nor his predecessors were able to overcome this evil. It ill-becomes the impotent to denounce those facing similar challenges for resorting to different tactics.

Moreover, when addressing Palestinian matters, the Foreign Office applies double standards with shameless abandon. When more than 500,000 Palestinians, including women and children, were kicked out of Kuwait and other Gulf states after Dessert Storm, we hardly heard a whimper from Whitehall. Why all the fuss now and all the reticence then?

As for the legalistic strictures of the Lawyers For Palestinian Human Rights (Letters, 21 December), let them remember that Israelis have rights too, particularly the one of living unmolested in their own country.

Section 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention does not apply to the temporary expulsion of selective supporters of terrorist organisations. Even if one were to stretch the meaning of that section, the overriding consideration of every state remains the Roman law concept that 'the salvation of the Republic is the supreme law'.

This being said I believe that both the Lebanese and the Israeli authorities should do their utmost in allowing Red Cross supplies to reach the exiles.

Yours faithfully,

LIONEL BLOCH

London, W1

27 December

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