I AM writing in opposition to the views expressed by Eric Melvin (Letters, March 19) regarding the war in Israel. He is correct that the war did not start last October with the vicious and barbarous attack on innocent Israeli people at a music festival. For decades Israel has endured a constant bombardment of rockets by Hamas from Gaza and Hezbollah from Lebanon. Israel has never been the instigator of the violence but has had to respond to the threat to the destruction of their nation, which is the avowed aim of Hamas.

Israel is not against the Palestinians and would live at peace with them if they renounced terrorism and recognised Israel's right to exist and live in their ancestral land, promised to them in the Balfour Declaration and confirmed in 1948. Twice the Palestinians under Arafat were offered a division of the land but the PLO refused because they did not want a two-state solution and refused to recognise Israel's statehood. The Palestinian position has not changed; they want the whole land which is clear from the chant at the demonstrations of "from the river to the sea, Palestine shall be free". It is well to remember that there never was a Palestinian state. It was the Romans who named the land Philistia from which the name Palestine originates, under their occupation.

Regarding humanitarian aid to Gaza, Joe Biden has been speaking to Benjamin Netanyahu regarding allowing desperately-needed humanitarian aid and this is likely to happen and would have happened already if Hamas had been willing to release the Israeli hostages.

Israel is not an apartheid state, and many Arabs live peaceably with Israelis and can be granted Israeli citizenship. They should certainly not be banned from the Olympics. It should not be forgotten that 14 Israeli athletes were killed by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Olympics at Munich.

We can only pray for a peaceful resolution to the conflict and for the land to be unified with equal rights of citizenship for Israelis and Arabs.

Norman A Ogston, Johnstone.

Energy rethink is needed

IT would appear that the intention to deliver Net Zero by 2030 as proposed by Ed Miliband and Labour is questioned by the operators of the National Grid. This week the ESO (National Grid operators) set out plans for a new 400-mile high-voltage line accessing offshore wind power from the North-east of Scotland to Merseyside at a cost of £58 billion. This would involve hundreds of pylons across the Scottish countryside and be achievable from public sector taxation until completed in 2035.

An acceleration of this timetable to 2030 would require an additional taxation burden on the long-suffering public. Besides which, many Scots would object to such an unsightly imposition on the landscape of multiple pylon-building when cables could be laid alongside railway lines or buried, as many oil and gas pipelines have been.

Perhaps a rethink and change in practice for all political parties is required for fundamental technical issues such as the supply of electricity? It seems self-evident that governments need engineering experts for realistic policy-making which needs technical expertise, yet apparently this does not happen in Britain. Other governments such as the French have for generations had secondments of technical experts from industry to their civil service to achieve sound economic outcomes. What stops us from doing likewise?

Elizabeth Marshall, Edinburgh.

READ MORE: Time to treat Israel the way we did apartheid South Africa

READ MORE: Gaza has become 'a case study in inhumanity'

READ MORE: Transition away from coal was scandalous. We must do better with oil

Doubts over rail drink survey

ACCORDING to Scotrail's chief operating officer, Joanne Maguire, rail passengers who logged on to ScotRail's free wi-fi were asked whether or not they supported the ban on the consumption of alcohol remaining or being lifted ("Commuters on Scots trains said to be ‘50/50’ on ending alcohol ban on journeys", The Herald, March 20) .

I have to report that, despite travelling by train during the consultation period and logging on to the free wi-fi, at no time was I offered a chance to participate in this consultation, which is a pity because I wanted to do so.

It looks as though only certain passengers using certain groups were consulted. And of course, on some occasions the advertised free ScotRail wi-fi was not working.

The findings, therefore, need to be taken with a pinch of salt, if not a wee nip.

Jane Ann Liston, St Andrews.

The Herald: More pylons are planned for the north-east of ScotlandMore pylons are planned for the north-east of Scotland (Image: PA)

Sacrifice on National Service

I REFER to the plans to host a reception for some 200 Korean War veterans at Buckingham Palace to mark the 70th anniversary of the conflict ("King welcomes Korean veterans ahead of reception", The Herald, March 20). It is interesting to reflect upon the fact that many of those who served with the British forces in Korea were National Servicemen. Between 1949, when the National Service Act was introduced, and 1963, when the last National Serviceman was demobbed, more than two million men were conscripted to serve in the British Army, the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force. While many never left these shores, others with basic training were sent to some war zones, such as Korea, Malaya, Egypt and Cyprus, where a number were killed on active service.

The conscription process brought together young men from all over the country and from different backgrounds.

It was reported recently that the Latvian Foreign Secretary had suggested that Britain should consider bringing back conscription as a contribution to measures aimed at deterring the aggression in Europe of Vladimir Putin. Should such a step ever be seriously considered for our country, the reaction of our young people would clearly be a determining factor in its success or otherwise.

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.

Lack of direction from the BBC

WHAT a windy day it is today! Yet again today, and three days running last week, the BBC Radio Scotland and Radio Highland weather forecaster let listeners down by not giving any details on wind direction. How unprofessional.

I wonder if they are reading from the BBC1 television weather script and overlook the fact that the wind direction arrows cannot be seen on radio?

The topography of Scotland, and particularly of the Highlands and Islands, makes this information essential.

RJ Ardern, Inverness.

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Falling down on language

ANOTHER day, another example of corporate-speak mangled English.

As part of the redevelopment of Cowcaddens, we are told that Buchanan House will be "deconstructed" ("Go-ahead for city centre homes with gardens and roof terraces", The Herald, March 21). Is that the same as "demolished"? If it is then just say so.

Stuart Neville, Clydebank.