ISRAEL’S attacks on Gaza, killing civilians and children by the thousand, and the Israeli Defence Forces aiding settlers to kill Palestinians to take their farmland in the West Bank are not only war crimes, but risk the destruction of Israel in the long term, something Hamas on its own couldn’t achieve in a thousand years.

Every one-sided Gaza war in the 17 years since Hamas won the 2006 Palestinian Legislative elections has shown claims that Hamas threatens Israel's existence are nonsense. Hamas only succeeded in killing a few hundred soldiers and a thousand civilians on October 7 due to Bejamim Netanyahu’s negligence in having only 400 troops guarding the Gaza border.

By refusing negotiations and jailing or trying to assassinate Hamas’s political leaders, Israeli governments ensured conflict.

However, the world seeing Palestinian children killed, disabled for life, left orphaned or in agony daily, is turning public opinion worldwide against Israel.

It also risks the end of Egypt and Jordan’s 40-year peace deals and quiet alliances with Israel, and those with Saudi and other gulf states. If conflict continues, these governments may be forced to end peace with Israel or be overthrown by their people. Islamic extremist groups worldwide are gaining recruits as they did during the Iraq war.

Add in Iran, Hezbollah and Turkey under Erdogan’s Muslim AKP party, with Erdogan calling Hamas Mujahedin freedom fighters, and Israel risks uniting all Arabs and all Muslims, Sunni and Shia, against it. During the 1948, 1967 and 1973 Arab-Israeli wars Turkey and Iran were military dictatorships allied to the US so didn’t take part.

The US and British governments are losing any moral authority by supporting Israel killing civilians at 10 times the rate Putin’s forces have in Ukraine, and arming Israel with cluster munitions knowing they’ll kill children in Gaza.

Hamas should release all civilians, especially children, whom it holds hostage. But a ceasefire would make hostage negotiations more likely to succeed. And as Israel holds thousands of Palestinians, including teenagers, without fair trial under military law, there are plenty of prisoners to swap.

Duncan McFarlane, Carluke.

Read more: Lest we forget about Gaza, Armistice Day protests must go ahead

On a path to self-destruction

IN the turmoil of these past weeks it is important to remind ourselves that the reasons given by Hamas for the massacre on October 7 were firstly the brutal treatment of Palestinians by Israelis over many years in the West Bank and secondly the provocative visits to the Al Aqsa mosque by Israeli leaders.

The vicious killings on October 7 were bound to provoke a violent response and they did. In effect, fascist brutality on both sides provided a fuse for further conflict.

If there was one thing that we should have learned from the 20th century it is that fascist regimes cause the most fearful bloodshed and don’t generally survive for very long.

The Jewish tribe have over the centuries made many remarkable contributions to the societies in the diaspora in which they have lived, but have one more very hard lesson to learn, which, frankly, we all have to learn, namely to welcome as fellow citizens those who are “strangers (aliens) in the land”, as their prophets have encouraged them to do.

At the moment many Israelis seem to have chosen instead a path leading to self-destruction.

Graeme Brown, Edinburgh.

Follow the Good Friday example

THE last couple of weeks have brought about a shift in the way countries and populations have viewed the actions of the Israeli Defence Force in Gaza. The United Kingdom Government has fallen into line with its "special relationship" ally, the United States, which has consistently supported Israel. Across the world we have seen massive demonstrations that have been calling for a ceasefire and immediate negotiation in contrast with the UK's pitiful request for humanitarian pauses in the carnage supported by both the Conservative and Labour parties.

One of the few brighter moments in the street demonstrations has been the huge numbers of traditional Jewish communities and organisations against the actions of the Israeli Government exposing the lie that criticising the Israeli Government is anti-Semitic -drawing a line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.

There have been further exposures in the calamity that the invasion of Gaza has brought about. The desperation of Anthony Blinken, US Secretary of State, in his journeys across the Middle East has shown the beginnings of the decline in US influence in the world.

President Biden is now stating that the Israeli Government cannot occupy Gaza in the future and that a two-state solution has to be considered. Could this have anything to do with the fact that huge gas reserves are now known to be present just beyond the Gaza coastline?

The majority of countries in the world and the United Nations have been horrified by the intensity of the Israeli Defence Forces bombing of civilians, hospitals and refugee camps with the support of the Israeli Government, brushing aside allegations of war crimes and breaching of international treaties.

The only long-term solution will be the setting up of serious peace negotiations by the international community for a two-state solution, the outlawing and removal of the illegal settlements and a commitment to international law.

The US economy is being weakened by its domination by the military-industrial complex warned about by General Eisenhower in the period after the Second World War. President Biden could regain some international respect by promoting the road to peace as the US did with the Good Friday Agreement.

Maggie Chetty, Glasgow.

Tragic plight of the children

ONE of the most powerful, moving and in many ways despairing images of the Israel war with Hamas is its effects on children. Because of the nature of the conflict most of these images have been of Palestinian children in Gaza. It is to be acknowledged that the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7 did not spare children they came across and that weapons fired by Hamas into Israel will have taken their toll on the population there, including children.

It is profoundly affecting to witness the effects on the children who survived attacks during this conflict: cries of pain, bewilderment and complete lack of comprehension as to why this is happening to them. I have been reminded of words once expressed by President Jimmy Carter: "War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good. We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other's children."

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.

Read more: Keep Armistice Day sacrosanct and ban pro-Palestinian demos

Force should be reasonable

"AN eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" it says in Exodus 21 v23. If the Israelis will not bow to public opinion, surely they should obey their own holy scriptures, which they are very fond of quoting when it comes to possession of land? How can they possibly justify killing 10,000 Palestinians in retribution for 1,500 Israelis?

Peter Gray, Aberdeen.

Every war is filthy

WAR is a filthy business. Every conflict, since there has been a media to report on it, has seen thousands to millions of civilians killed.

It may seem simplistic but the only way to avoid the death of these innocent people is not to start a war.

Kenneth T MacDonald, Crookedholm, Ayrshire.

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History will shame Starmer

RIGHTLY or wrongly, fairly or unfairly, a number of prime ministers in British history are regarded as inseparable from major political events. More often than not these events tend to be considered major political disasters. An exception might be Churchill, whom history will no doubt portray as personifying resistance to the Nazis in 1940.

However there are more examples far less flattering than that of Churchill. Thus Lord North will be remembered for the loss of the American colonies in the 18th century; Chamberlain for Munich and his infamous piece of paper; Eden for the Suez debacle; Blair for the disastrous war on the innocent people of Iraq and Boris Johnson for breathtaking levels of mendacity.

Sir Keir Starmer has yet to attain the office of Prime Minister yet there is already an indelible stain on his political record and character arising from his position on a ceasefire in Gaza. Unlike other policy changes of his this is not a consequence of a retreat from, or reneging on, previous progressive policy decisions. It is simply shameful.

Brian Harvey, Motherwell.