August 19, 2014

Natan Sharansky asked that readers not set a double standard for Israel regarding norms of war [“Yes, Israel should meet a higher standard,” Sunday Opinion, Aug. 17]. I agree that Israel should be judged on the same basis as any other country and it should be held accountable to the Geneva Conventions, to which it is a signatory.

The United Nations has established an independent commission to investigate the most recent conflict. There, Israel will be able to face accusations of failure to protect innocent civilians, engagement in collective punishment and disproportionate retaliation against Palestinians.

In that same venue, Palestinians should be investigated for targeting civilians and using civilians as human shields.

If charges arise from the investigation, those responsible should be held accountable before the appropriate courts.

As a human rights observer in the West Bank, I witnessed the brutality of the occupation on a daily basis. It is time for the international community to hold Israel and Palestine accountable.

Sustained peace in Israel and Palestine must be rooted in justice and respect for human rights.

Steve Berube,

Riverview, New Brunswick, Canada

The writer is co-chairman of the United Network for a Just Peace in Palestine and Israel.

Natan Sharansky spoke for millions of people around the world who look aghast at the duplicity of world leaders and the international media. There is a double standard against Israel.

The United Nations treats Israel as a violator of human rights while two of the world’s most tyrannical regimes sit on the U.N. Security Council. The U.N. Human Rights Council includes some of the most despotic nations, yet it judges Israel.

No one of good will is happy about the destruction in Gaza, but those same people should be looking at the evil of Hamas and understand that Israel has no alternative but to use military force. Hamas is dedicated to the destruction of Israel and the eradication of the Jewish people. History has taught us not to take these threats lightly.

Gilbert Stein, Aptos, Calif.

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