THERE have been several features recently in The National about the problems of Palestine and Israel, and so far I have not commented because I am not an expert on the Middle East. But in the absence of comment from someone who is, and the worrying absence of comment from our Jewish colleagues in the SNP, I would like to propose that the situation is more nuanced and complex than some of your coverage – and that of other media commentators – might suggest.

In Jamal Juma’s comment piece, as usual Israel is portrayed as the aggressor in the conflict. There is no mention of atrocities committed by some Palestinian activists, or the links of some with extremist Islamist groups which have publicly stated that they seek the wholesale destruction of Israel. To be sure, Israel’s actions have not always been correct or ethically acceptable, but this is perhaps not wholly surprising given the horrors suffered by the Jewish community in the Holocaust. What might seem paranoia and overreaction to us, to them might be all about survival.

Equally, to criticise Israeli actions is not to be anti-Semitic, but in some cases such criticism has been a smokescreen for anti-Semitism, often by extremist Islamist groups, and clearly the SNP would want to be vigilant in ensuring our party does not harbour such voices as appear to exist in the Labour Party.

I would venture to suggest that any permanent settlement in the Israel/Palestine conflict can only be achieved if we recognise that both sides have rights and responsibilities, and a fundamental right is the right to existence. Branding one side as the aggressor and the other as a passive victim does not do justice to the complexities of the issue and will only add to the sense of Israeli isolation, which will surely exacerbate the violence.

Dr Mary Brown

CONGRATULATIONS to The National for publishing the facts on the non-violent nature of the Palestinians’ resistance to the oppression and apartheid imposed on them by the Israeli Occupation (Why the time is right for action to help Palestinians, April 23).

For far too long Unionist newspapers have simply parroted the version of events on the “conflict” put out by the Westminster Government instead of bothering to find out for themselves what is really going on. The reason being that if ordinary people get to know the truth of the horrors Palestinians experience on a daily basis, the demand for an end would become unstoppable – in the same way as the pressure by ordinary people for boycott, divestment and sanctions ended apartheid in South Africa.

Then what would happen to arms companies’ shares?

So well done to The National – make it the start of a trend.

Liz Davidson

TO stand with and fully support the Palestinian people, and ALL oppressed people, should be the duty of every government, not just the Scottish Government.

Are we to leave the Palestinians to stand alone, as they fight for their freedom and basic human rights in their own land?

We, as a country, as people of conscience, have a duty to build and implement effective and immediate solidarity with Palestine. As Desmond Tutu said: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

Paul Shortt
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (Dumfries)

THE Scottish Government should take a firm stance on Israel’s worryingly growing hostility towards Palestinians, recently emboldened by the US decision to move its embassy.

Although foreign policy it not a devolved matter, I’m sure our government could at least debate the issue to see what support can be given.

I’m sure the good people of Scotland are frustrated by the deafening silence of mainstream media on this issue, and we would be interested to hear our government’s view.

If all we can offer is our support, it would still bring hope to a seemingly hopeless situation.

They say that above the gates of Hell it reads: “Abandon all hope ye who enter here”.

We should not see any human beings living in a Hell on Earth.

Rose Shirvani
Address supplied