MYER Green's letter (January 24) makes for depressing reading. It simply echoes the refusal on the part of Israel to see any connection between the violence of Gaza and the actions of successive Israeli governments towards the Palestinians.

Since 1948 Israel has aggressively extended its territory at the expense of its Palestinian neighbours. For decades Israel has ignored successive UN resolutions and deliberately refused to take forward the two-state settlement which might have seen peaceful relations between the two neighbouring peoples. Instead, Israel continues to occupy Palestinian land.

The unfortunate Palestinians are corralled into two overcrowded internment camps with borders controlled by Israel. The Palestinians are oppressed; there are regular military incursions into Gaza and the West Bank with frequent assassinations of Palestinian leaders. Palestinian villages and farms continue to be bulldozed to build yet more illegal settlements, often peopled by religious zealots convinced that the Old Testament gives them the right to evict the Palestinians living there. As a consequence, hundreds of Palestinian residents continue to be driven from their homes to join the growing numbers of the displaced.

And so the relentless, merciless, killing and destruction being carried out by Israel in Gaza goes on. Despite official protestations to the contrary by Israeli government and military officials, it is quite clear that Israel is guilty of serious war crimes as defined by the International Criminal Court. It is shameful that Israel is not being held to account for its inhumane actions by western leaders.

Benjamin Netenyahu is deluding himself if he thinks that he can destroy Hamas and the Palestinian dream of self-government. His aggressive punishment of the Palestinians threatens to further destabilise the volatile Middle East. Furthermore, MI5 now rates the threat to the UK from terrorism as substantial.

By its actions, Israel has created its own Frankenstein monster. History, including our own national history, is filled with examples of an oppressed people, with no hope of reasonable resolution to their grievances, turning to violence as their only means of redress. Banned by Israel from having its own armed forces, how else can the Palestinians defend themselves apart from armed resistance?

Eric Melvin, Edinburgh.

Read more: Israel's actions put into perspective by decades of terrorism

Problems with smart meters

MARTIN Williams ("Scots with no smart meter face power loss", The Herald, January 20) highlights the problems faced by households who have been relying on the Radio Teleswitching Service, which is about to close down. However, there is a perhaps a larger issue relating to the rolling out of smart meters in Scotland, and particularly in Glasgow.

When we inquired about having a smart meter in our 19th century Glasgow tenement flat Scottish Gas engineers concluded that it was not possible. There were two reasons: first, our gas and electricity meters are about 10ft apart on opposite sides of our entrance hall; second, the company fuse for our flat is in the close mouth of the tenement rather than immediately outside the front door of our flat.

The repositioning of our electricity meter from high up in a walk-in cupboard to a location next to our gas meter near our front door would need an input from Scottish Gas Networks (SGN). The replacement of an old-type gas meter with an up-to-date one would also need an SGN input. Our property factor was unable to provide any suggestions about modifying the company fuse system for the tenement.

Until a customer-friendly system for introducing smart meters into 19th century tenements is adopted there is no prospect of a high uptake of smart meters in Glasgow.

Michael Tribe, Glasgow.

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Fort William deserves better

I READ, almost in disbelief, of the possible further delay to the planned replacement of the Belford Hospital, Fort William, despite the description of it being no longer fit for purpose ("Highland hospital could be delayed again over cash", The Herald, January 23).

From as far back as 2003 the viability of the hospital has been under threat, first by the proposed closure of its Accident and Emergency unit and, latterly, by the failure of the health board to replace the building with a modern structure fit to provide services for the residents and visitors to the area.

In April 2005, at a public debate in the chamber of the Scottish Parliament, David Sedgwick, then lead surgeon at the hospital, spoke strongly of the need to attract and retain medical and surgical staff to serve communities in rural areas of Scotland, this at a time when there was increasing concern about perceived over-centralisation of health care. The debate, "Reshaping the NHS in Scotland", included contributions from a wide range of health providers from every constituency in the country It is therefore particularly ironic that Mr Sedgwick, who then described the personal and professional attractions of providing vital services to communities throughout rural areas, should find himself, almost 20 years later, still fighting to ensure the future of the Belford Hospital.

The people of Fort William and the surrounding area deserve better.

Malcolm Allan, Former Secretary, Scottish Health Campaigns Network, Bishopbriggs.

Read more: Council tax plan is unfairly robbing people of their retirement dreams

Off course with tanker

I'D advise whoever wrote the caption for today's old picture ("Remember when ... Tanker took shape at Lithgows", The Herald, January 23) to go to Specsavers. The ship shown in dry dock is a cargo vessel, the Lairdsdale of Burns Laird line, not a 59,000-ton tanker. For your writer's information, tankers have the funnel aft, not midships. If this is too nautical the chimney is at the back, or blunt end.

George Smith, Clydebank.

The Herald: hould composting make garden waste bins superfluous?hould composting make garden waste bins superfluous? (Image: PA)

Let's do away with brown bins

MARK Smith deplores the charge being levied for the collection of bins full of garden waste (brown bins) (“The great bin rebellion: could it be the start of something?”, The Herald, January 22, and Letters, January 23). Personally, I think we should not be encouraging their use: after all, garden waste is biodegradable and any waste should be allowed to decompose in its garden of origin.

If you have no space available for the piles of woody thinnings, weeds and compost to decompose, then you are growing too much for your size of garden. Cut your cloth to fit the size. Surely this is what responsible gardening is all about?

Of course, if you have no garden, then it is perfectly reasonable for the council to collect any compost from inside the house.

James Fenton, Oban.