Letter: The furore that didn't occur

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Sir: Weekend press reports quoted the Israeli prime minister as having given instructions to his security services to hunt down and kill military leaders of Hamas, following the recent bomb attacks for which Hamas has claimed responsibility. No particular furore has ensued.

Indeed, the Defence Secretary, Malcolm Rifkind, was interviewed this morning on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, and he discussed the issue quite realistically and calmly, his opinion being that Yitzhak Rabin, probably correctly, had to be seen and heard to take tough action. Perhaps I am alone in finding this quite extraordinary?

Imagine British domestic reaction to a statement by John Major (prior to the recent peace progress), in the wake of an IRA bomb attack, that he had ordered the security services to 'hunt down and kill' all military leaders of the IRA] Would it go by without a whimper from media, politicians or foreign governments?

In a recent UN Security Council meeting the Russian Foreign Minister, Andrei Kozyrev, implored the council's permanent representatives, representing the most influential countries of the world, to guard themselves against accusations of holding clear double standards in their international conduct. An appeal that seems to continue to fall on stony ground.

Yours faithfully, NATASHA ABBASI London, W3 24 October