HAMAS kills Israeli children, then Israel kills Palestinian children. My mind goes back to words from Clydebank, 1941. Billy Kay's immortal radio documentary, The Clydebank Blitz included an interview with a volunteer worker amid the wreckage.

"A man came up to me and gave me a bit of paper and said: 'This is the name of a child who was picked up in a shelter - dead..'. And I said: "You're quite sure this is right and the child was dead?" And he said: "Yes, she was picked up beside my own bairn who was dead too." And then he stood for a moment and said: "We're not going to do this to German people's bairns, are we? What good is that going to do?"

But, of course, we did "do this". Operation Gomorrah, the RAF firestorm on Hamburg two years later, killed some 35,000 people with their children. It made no noticeable difference to the war's course. It made a lifelong difference to the German bairns who survived, as it will to the children of Gaza.

Neal Ascherson, London.

Cool heads must prevail

IT is imperative that cool heads prevail amongst our leaders and that we don't allow emotion to cloud our collective judgment when looking at the unfolding tragedy in the Middle East. Therefore I thought it would be helpful to simply look at numbers.

During the Blitz which lasted for eight months from September 1940 to May 1941,12,000 tons of bombs were dropped on London alone in an eight-month period, leading to 30,000 deaths, including that of my former father-in-law's sister.

The four raids over Dresden conducted by the RAF and USAF between February 13 and 15, 1945 in which 3,900 tons of explosive were dropped killed 25,000 people.

Between 1965 and 1975 the United States and its Allies unloaded 7.5 million tons of explosive over Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, which was double that dropped on Europe and Asia during the Second World War. It is estimated that two million civilians and up to 1.4 million combatants died.

In Gulf War 1, 88,500 tons were dropped on Iraq; in the 2003 invasion 29,199. Numbers for Afghanistan vary.

In just 17 days the Israeli air force has dropped 12,000 tons of explosive on Gaza, which is one quarter the size of London.

Tzipi Hotovely, Israel's ambassador to Britain, told both a Sky news anchor and Piers Morgan on GB News on October 16 that the Dresden and Hamburg bombings were "worth it to defeat the Nazis". This is the same rationale used to defend the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

I would merely point out that on the Clyde we have four Trident submarines with at least one always on patrol. Each sub can carry up to 96 warheads. Each warhead is equivalent to eight Hiroshima bombs with a yield of 100 kilotons.

When will our leaders think that enough is enough?

Marjorie Ellis Thompson, Edinburgh.

Read more: A Labour win means more misery for the next 10 years

Power must be equalised

REFERRING to the Rev Dr Robert Anderson's letter (October 24): there may be 315 million Muslims in countries that may provide some moral encouragement of Hamas, but that does not mean much in practice. Israel is supported by countries in Europe and America with a population of some 700 million that provides a lot more than words. Note how many fighter jets Israel has; how many do the Palestinians have? Dr Anderson mentions Iran maybe aspiring to have a nuclear bomb whereas it is fairly certain that Israel already has some.

Yes, Israel is nominally democratic and this gives it some moral edge over the autocracies that surround it. On the other hand it seems that it may actually enjoy this status as it justifies the virtual imprisonment of two million Palestinians, most of whom do not support Hamas but do enjoy the pleasure of having their electricity, fuel and medicine being cut off by their neighbour. Once imprisoned they have the uncertainty of whether they will be bombed from the sky tonight or tomorrow.

Yes, as de facto controller of all of Palestine two states is now impossible without a significant equalisation of power between the two parties.Therefore Israel should incorporate all into one country and apply the same laws to all inhabitants of this country.

Robert Kerr, Thornhill, Dumfries and Galloway.

A show of wisdom

I HAVE never read a more balanced letter regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict as that written by Professor Henry Maitles (October 25). His dissection of the most complex political problem of recent years is admirable. If more politicians had expressed the same breadth of understanding and vision from the time of the ending of the Balfour Treaty we would not be in the heady volatile situation that threatens to engulf the world at this time.

His epistle outlines a deep understanding of both the historical and up-to-date concerns culminating in the cults of both Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.

His call for a ceasefire, as a start is surely the answer to the maiden's prayer. In his capacity as the Emeritus Professor of Education, I can only hope that his teachings are broadcast, not only in the modern idiom, but widely, deeply, and rapidly take seed.

Robin Johnston, Newton Mearns.

Religion is not to blame

DOUG Clark (Letters, October 24) makes the lazy assertion common among some unthinking atheists, that religion is to blame for violence and wars throughout history. This accusation is simplistic and naive.

Wars are not fought for God but invariably for power and wealth.

Men are conned or forced into fighting each other by elites using race, religion or nationalism as their justification.

There can be little hope of “Peace on Earth” until we can all see through this induced hatred, bigotry and sectarianism.

James Quinn, Lanark.

Read more: The rage is understandable, but it cannot dictate government policy

Still paying the price of PFI

IN all the recent comments about local government funding, I am surprised that no one has mentioned the ongoing burden of PFI repayments on our local councils.

The most fiscally-inept Scottish government was the previous Labour/LibDem coalition that returned £1,500 million to the UK Treasury while imposing the horrendously expensive PFI method of funding on to our hard-pressed health boards and local authorities. They were not allowed to borrow from the cheaper Public Works Loan Board to build hospitals and schools as Gordon Brown wanted to keep such infrastructure borrowing off the UK's balance sheet.

It was recently confirmed that the amount owed under PFI for hospitals and schools is still £15.4 billion - meaning that not even half of Labour’s eye-watering total PFI bill has been repaid.

Scotland continues to pay extortionate amounts for Labour incompetence, as the cost to the public purse ballooned by an extra £1 million every week in the last year alone. Worse still, the Scottish Labour politicians who cooked up these calamitous PFI contracts agreed to index the repayments to inflation, meaning that as the UK’s inflation rate sky-rockets, so do the bloated profits of the private companies benefiting from PFI.

Just think how much more could have been available for local services and frontline health care.

Fraser Grant, Edinburgh.

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Banker bonuses beggar belief

BANKS don’t grow anything, they don’t make anything. In days of yore banks were a safe repository for the assets of the rich and it allowed bankers to lend some of this money to those who had none and charge interest on the loan. The banks made money and the rich made money; both sponged off the general public without actually creating anything, they simply profited from the efforts of others.

Nowadays, since the major currencies are not backed by any tangible assets, the banking system can simply create money out of thin air on the understanding or expectation it will be repaid with interest. Banks can and do regularly fail because they have insufficient funds to repay depositors what is effect Monopoly money.

At a time when UK citizens are dying of cold because they can’t afford to heat their houses, children go hungry and millions struggle to repay interest on mortgage loans, the fact that limiting “bankers’ bonuses” ("Bankers’ bonus caps to be scrapped to make UK ‘appealing finance hub’", The Herald, October 25) is actually a topic of conversation simply demonstrates how morally corrupt and divisive our society actually is.

David J Crawford, Glasgow.