Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 27 November 2014

Letters: West could do more for peace in Middle East

I have read with great interest the recent comments in Write Back regarding the ongoing struggle for independence waged by Hamas against Israel.

Israel has a population of 7.5m, of which 5.5m are Jews and the remainder mostly Arabs. Israel is only 260 miles long and 60 miles wide at the widest point.

It is surrounded by the following Arab/Muslim states, most of them totalitarian in nature: Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Iran and Iraq are close by.

Iran has threatened to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth. Israeli citizens live with the daily threat of suicide bombers and a potential aerial attack is only ever minutes away.

Israel has often been accused by her neighbours of being expansionist and aggressive, but it is the Arab nations who have most of the land and all of the oil and they could do so much more to facilitate a lasting peace.

Arab countries, in general, do not have a good human rights record and the GDP per citizen is much higher in Israel than in most Arab nations.

Israel must be one the most fought-over strips of land in the world and this ongoing struggle could yet have potentially disastrous implications for the region.

We in the West must do much more than offer mere rhetoric to help all of the people in the region to reach an accommodation based on tolerance and understanding before it is too late and we wake up to yet another Holocaust.

IAN JOHNSTON

Newtownabbey, Co Antrim

Cynicism will see football paying penalty

The beautiful game has been ugly for a long time. A serious injury like Neymar’s was inevitable.

It is the only profession where to call an act ‘professional’ is an insult: cynical, often dangerous behaviour designed to gain an advantage through cheating.

Cheating is now the dominant ethos in football. Every corner or near-goal free kick is accompanied by widespread, unpunished off-the-ball fouls.

Unless players can be made to respect rules, unless fouls and deception become the exception not the norm, then football contains seeds of its own destruction.

KEITH FARMAN

By email

Cheats prosper at World Cup

I have been watching football for 60 years, but this World Cup has made football a joke.

The refereeing has been ridiculous. Cheating has been allowed to go on unpunished.

The winner of the World Cup will be the team with the best divers and actors. This was football, but not as we knew it.

M FINN

By email

Bull run is vile ritual not sport

The injuring of four people during the annual Pamplona bull run is another reminder of how cruel and irresponsible this barbaric ritual is. Apart from the risk to humans, the bulls don't deserve this vile mistreatment. They are goaded by “sportspeople” who prod them or administer electric shocks prior to the run.

The animals are teased and aggravated to the point of frenzy and the presence of so many people, standing, gesticulating or running along the narrow cobbled streets, adds to their distress.

The bull is also weakened by beating it with great force over the kidneys and rubbing Vaseline into its eyes to impair vision.

That there are people who organise and participate in such barbarism is a disgrace to humanity.

JOHN FITZGERALD

Campaign for the Abolition of Cruel Sports

Hypocrisy of the Equality Commission

The equality issue in Northern Ireland is again on the agenda, this time with the Christian faith being targeted for persecution.

Ashers Baking Company declined an order from a homosexual pressure group, QueerSpace, on grounds of biblical authority.

A slogan on the cake was ‘Support gay marriage’, which takes this cause to a new level, where tolerance gives way to promotion. The dictionary definition of equality is replaced by politically correct interpretation, but common sense isn't common in Marxist politically correct ideology.

I believe the Equality Commission has singled out Christianity as a soft target. Compare this with Islam, which is more vociferous in its opposition to same-sex relationships.

If a Muslim takeaway declined a homosexual service on grounds of his sexuality, would the same Equality Commission take up a case under its purported values?

A dimension of hypocrisy has to be pointed out on the part of the Equality Commission defending a group called QueerSpace.

There are those elsewhere being investigated under hate-crime law by like-minded people to the Equality Commission for calling homosexuals ‘queers’.

DAVID FLEMING

Downham Market, Norfolk

The simple facts over cake row

My understanding is that gay marriage is unlawful in Northern Ireland. Why all the fuss over a cake? Is it lawful to promote something unlawful? Can the bakers not refuse to take an order to “Go out and rob a bank”?

We are getting mixed up here, because of Northern Ireland being out of step with the rest of the UK. The order was refused because of the promotion of a comment on something not lawful here.

ROY EDWARDS

Saintfield, Co Down

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