THERE was surely more than a touch of irony in the letter from Otto Inglis on Saturday (‘’Don’t give in to Hamas’, May 18) when, in defence of Israel, he argued that “none of us has had to deal with callous religious fanatics bent on our destruction”.

Surely this argument could be applied to the continuing fate of the unfortunate Palestinians who continue to endure a deliberate campaign waged by successive Israeli governments to force them from their land?

Last week the Palestinian world remembered the infamous Nakba – ‘the catastrophe’ of 1948 – when 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 the brutality of Zionist paramilitaries and, after the establishment of the State of Israel, by the Israeli Defence Force. 

Some 500 Palestinian towns and villages were either completely destroyed or repopulated by Israelis.
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 Palestinians had been killed.

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. 

Now we are witnessing the horrors of the collective punishment of the Palestinians. Some 20,000 innocent women and children have been killed while Gaza has been effectively destroyed.

Meanwhile, 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. 

Now we have the shocking reports that some of these settlers are intercepting desperately needed aid convoys.

It is abundantly clear that Netanyahu, in defiance of international warnings, has already started his attack on Rafah. 

The appeals from world leaders for restraint are being ignored. It is delusional to think that Israel would voluntarily call a halt to the slaughter. 

What is the future for Gaza with its buildings and infrastructure in ruins? What is to happen to the wretched Palestinians? Is the intention to drive them away from their homeland to join the millions of refugees now living in enforced exile?

International hand-wringing and appeals for restraint have manifestly failed to bring a halt to the brutality and slaughter of Israel’s merciless campaign. So what must be done? 

The furore surrounding Israel’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest, I think, confirms my letter of March 18, which argued that the only action that could be effective and which might convince decent Israelis that their country is on the road to perdition, is to apply sanctions as were applied effectively to apartheid-era South Africa and are in force against Putin’s Russia.
Eric Melvin, Edinburgh.


Ignorance over events in Gaza
THE level of ignorance and delusion of some supporters of the ongoing Israeli action in Gaza is beyond parody.

Otto Inglis refers to two Israeli hostages held for the past decade by Hamas as justification for the slaughter of 36,000 trapped civilians, the vast majority of whom are women and children with no connection with Hamas.  The taking of hostages is a crime, no matter who commits it, but does he really equate this with the thousands of Palestinians, many of them children, currently held hostage in Israeli jails, often without charges?

Incredibly, he seeks support for his argument from international law and the Geneva Convention, both of which Israel has consistently ignored for the past 76 years since the 1948 Nakba. The only consolation is that when ordinary people across the globe, including increasing numbers of courageous Israelis, watch in horror at this second Nakba unfolding in Gaza, more and more are recognising the duplicity and hypocrisy of such despicable Zionist propaganda.
Douglas Simpson, Fortrose.


Stone of Destiny ‘was not stolen’
IN her article about the Stone of Destiny (‘Rock fragment confirmed to be a part of Stone of Destiny’, May 18) Martha Vaughan unfortunately twice repeats the incorrect statement that the Stone of Destiny was “stolen” from Westminster Abbey by Scottish students in 1950. 

The Scottish students most certainly removed the Stone from Westminster Abbey, but they most definitely did not steal it. The actual theft of the Stone occurred when King Edward I of England removed it from Scotland in 1296. The more often an error or myth is repeated, the more likely it is to become accepted history. Let’s get our history correct with regard to the Stone of Destiny!
Stewart Noble, Helensburgh.


Title celebrations in public areas
I AM writing to express my shame at being a Glaswegian after Saturday’s fiasco in Trongate (‘Arrests after 25,000 gather for Celtic festivities’, May 20). I cannot understand any self-respecting supposed football fan wanting to be any part of this. Nor can I understand why it is allowed in the first place. Future celebrations should take place in their respective stadium and not in public areas. The current situation only continues to put financial pressure on the local authority, the police, businesses – and, of course, the general public.
Daniel McColgan, Bishopbriggs.


Tenants and serfs at the Kirk
I BEG to differ with Kevin McKenna’s assertion that the Church of Scotland “is an institution that prides itself on its democracy and the power of the people” (Kindness not brimstone lies at the heart of the Kirk’, May 20).

The Church has recently established large pre-Reformation diocesan-like presbyteries having excluded Kirk Sessions and congregations from consultation, planning and formation processes. The direction of the Reformation, from hierarchy to people, has been reversed. Decades of centralisation of decision-making by 121 George Street have made members of the Church of Scotland into tenants and serfs. 
Rev Dr Robert Anderson,  Dundonald.