The shocking toll of the conflict in Gaza continues to occupy the thoughts of our readers.

Earlier this week, two of our correspondents speculated on the likely long-term consequences of Israel’s bombardment.

Read those letters here 👈

Doug Maughan of Dunblane writes:

"David Howie (Letters, December 19) wonders if the Israeli government’s objective in Gaza 'is to murder every Palestinian who lives there'. Given the continuing barrage of bombs and shells being fired into congested civilian areas, it appears that is indeed what Benjamin Netanyahu and his bloodthirsty cabinet have in mind.

"On October 17 you published a letter in which I posed the question of how many dead Palestinians there would have to be to assuage the Israeli government’s rage. Was it 15,000? 150,000? A million? That first figure is well behind us now; if you count the thousands whose bodies lie rotting under the rubble from Israeli airstrikes, the number of dead is probably about 30,000. That’s over one in every 100 of the population. And still the massacre goes on, with disease and starvation waiting in the wings.

"Some world leaders who were slow to urge restraint on the Israeli government are now suggesting that continuing their vicious military campaign will only increase the threat to Israel in the years ahead. A statement of the obvious and far too late in the day. The die is cast, and Mr Netanyahu and his supporters have condemned the population of Israel to decades of insecurity, forever in fear of another terrorist attack.

"The disaster that is Palestine has been allowed to grow and fester for decades, and it’s largely the UK and latterly the US that created the mess. If madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome, there can be few better examples than the Western policy of arming and uncritically supporting Israel.

"Only a figure with the wisdom and courage of a Gandhi could turn the situation around, and modern politics doesn’t produce people like that any more."

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