WHILE setting the fire (a log burner, but more of that later), my attention was drawn to an article by Owen Jones in The National on March 30 (Starvation may prove to be Israel’s deadliest crime) which I had missed or failed to read! I was appalled at the attached photograph of Yezen Al-Kfarna, 10, receiving medical treatment for malnourishment.

The last time I had seen similar scenes was when Allied soldiers had entered concentration camps at the end of the First World War. I cannot believe that Israelis have forgotten this horror perpetrated on their people by the Nazis in the 1940s and are now inflicting it on the Palestinians, regardless of what Hamas carried out last October. It would seem that Yoav Gallant, their defence minister, was intent on fighting “human animals”.

It seems as though he learned from the Nazis and even appears to use their terminology.

The National: Palestinians sit by the destruction from the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip in Rafah on Monday, Feb. 12, 2024. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali).

I disagree with Owen when he says “with the notable exception of Scotland”. While our First Minister has made it abundantly clear that we do not condone or approve of the withholding of aid, that is as far as it goes. We are still a part of the UK (unfortunately) and as a result, our Foreign Secretary and Government still supply weapons to Israel and put up with Netanyahu’s refusal to open aid corridors. Roll on independence when we can have a truly independent foreign policy.

As for log burners, my father-in-law – an architect, who is no longer with us – used to comment that houses needed ventilation, “best provided by a chimney”. Recently, many letters and articles in The National have been commenting on the need for additional heating, especially when the electricity supply fails. This is very understandable and although we have a heat pump, wind turbine and solar panels, we also have a log burner for the occasional supply failure. My wife and I, on our frequent trips north, comment on the number of modern homes that are built with no chimney. What choice for the inhabitants? None.
Paul Gillon

MUCH as it would be welcome news if the SNP could find a constructive way to work with Alba towards the common goal of independence, my elected SNP representative at Westminster who now sits as an Alba MP, Kenny MacAskill, appears to persistently focus his literary efforts on attacking the SNP rather than the Tory or Labour parties.

In his column in The Scotsman on Thursday, April 18, he railed against the Hate Crime Act (without mentioning the principles of fairness and egalitarianism on which it is based) and on the same day in the East Lothian Courier, he railed against the ban on wood-burning stoves (without mentioning that this was limited to new builds and that exceptions could be granted). Mr MacAskill’s primary argument in both cases was that because these measures are currently viewed in the mainstream media as “unpopular”, basic principles and associated long-term objectives should effectively be abandoned.

In seeking “popularity”, it regrettably appears that Mr MacAskill has aligned himself and his new party with Scottish Tories guided by a London-controlled, right-wing UK press that seeks to exploit Scottish issues through partial context, misleading information and even “fake news”.
Stan Grodynski
Longniddry, East Lothian

THE following is a direct quote from the Wikipedia page entitled “Nakba” (Arabic meaning “The Catastrophe”): “‘The Catastrophe’ was the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in Mandatory Palestine during the 1948 Palestine war through their violent displacement and dispossession of land, property and belongings, along with the destruction of their society, culture, identity, political rights, and national aspirations. The term is also used to described the ongoing persecution and displacement of Palestinians by Israel. As a whole, it covers the shattering of Palestinian society and the long-running rejection of the right of return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants.

“During the foundational events of the Nakba in 1948, dozens of massacres targeting Arabs were conducted and more than 500 Arab-majority towns and villages were depopulated, with many of these being either completely destroyed or repopulated by Jews and given new Hebrew names. Approximately half of Palestine’s predominantly Arab population, or around 750,000 people, were expelled from their homes or made to flee, at first by Zionist paramilitaries through various violent means, and after the establishment of the State of Israel, by the Israel Defense Forces. By the end of the war, 78% of the total land area of the former Mandatory Palestine was controlled by Israel and at least 15,000 Arabs had been killed.”

I definitely can’t recall any history lesson at school that taught me this. In my 63 years aboard this planet, I can only recall the odd documentary on telly where I did manage to glean this information. Something tells me the powers that be in the UK from 1948 onwards wanted to hide this grubby secret because maybe many reasonable, sensible-minded folk would consider what happened was a wicked thing to do.

I wonder what, nowadays, anybody throughout the UK would make of decrees from far-off lands that meant we would have to flee our homes against our will? I can’t begin to imagine how we’d deal with an order to just go somewhere else (as far as our opponents were concerned, anywhere bloody else!) – and far away from where we have always lived for that matter – and to have to start again. Of course that would never happen in dear ol’ Blighty because if onybody tried that carry on, that’s what oor nuclear bombs are fur!

We are forever being told by talking heids on the telly that the Israel/Palestine conflict is oh so very complicated and any simplistic judgements about the creation of the state of Israel can only possibly be made by naive individuals. Well, I kinda like being naive. In other words, if it’s naive to think expelling around 750,000 folk who have done absolutely nothing wrong fae their hooses and land against their will is a wicked thing to do – whether that be in 1948 or at any time – then I’m naive, full stop! Maybe, though, like others who think like me, I just get it!

Bringing this up to date, isn’t it a real shame that Gaza didn’t have an Iron Dome defence system to protect their innocent civilians and bairns being killed and maimed? The current grotesque statistics are more than 33,000 killed and more than 75,000 wounded. But then again, Palestinian lives clearly don’t matter! Then again, did they ever?
Ivor Telfer
Dalgety Bay, Fife

IT’S difficult to argue with George Kerevan’s conclusions regarding the unacceptable increase in inequality or with his assertion that much of the problem lies with a failure to develop a coherent industrial strategy (Politicians are shying away from the hard choices that need made, April 16).

Where difficulties arise is when he blames our problems on a “surging dollar”.

In reality there has been virtually no change in the pound-to-dollar exchange rate over the past year. If anything, the pound is marginally higher today than it was at this time last year. Even over the past seven years, despite a few ups and downs, the value of the pound against the dollar has oscillated around $1.26 to the pound.

Before and after the Brexit referendum, the pound plummeted, but that was due to its own self-inflicted weakness rather than the dollar’s strength. It’s of little relevance to the increasing profits being made by Ferrari or Bentley today.

It’s also quite easy to compare unfavourably the current Scottish Government’s choices with those of the Salmond administration. The latter was not having to deal with the effects of more than a decade of austerity or an increasingly aggressive attitude to devolution itself from Westminster. This is not to suggest that our current politicians are getting all the decisions right – far from it – simply that the environment in which governments in Scotland make their choices has become more constrained over the years, both economically and politically.

Of course, politics is all about priorities and, of course, supporting a credible industrial strategy should be high on the list. Failure to recognise and act on this will have long-term consequences both for the wellbeing of the country and for public support of the case for independence. However, there are many other items on the list that have short-term consequences for the same issues.

Where Mr Kerevan is absolutely right is that making these choices requires the competence to optimise the benefits and courage to take the often difficult, sometimes unpopular decisions.

It’s clearly valid to ask if the current government is choosing to squander support on unpopular decisions that are not genuinely advancing either wellbeing or constitutional objectives.
Cameron Crawford

IT’S no surprise, as even the Tory press fail to keep the failures and corruption and venality of a growing number of Conservative MPs under wraps, that Sunak should desperately sink to the old dark arts.

Sunak’s surprise attack on those on benefits has left even the most cynical observers stunned.

Will it work this time?

Surely the cruellest Conservative, careless of anyone but the wealthiest, must be aware that benefits have, under this and previous Tory administrations, been cut to the bone? They are harder to access and the largest sector of the population claiming some type of income supplement are THOSE IN WORK.

But still Sunak (like Braverman before him [in relation to homelessness]) seems to think being poor is a “lifestyle choice”.

Add to this the fact that it won’t even be medical professionals assessing those too sick to work and you can only conclude that the bottomless pit of Tory inhumanity has opened up a new lower level.

There is one ray of light, however – Sunak, in his increasingly petulant, whiny, desperate verbal flailings stated: “Those with serious debilitating conditions should not be expected to work.”

On that basis, we all look forward to his immediate resignation.
Amanda Baker