Summary execution in Gaza tips bias in favour of Israel
Last Wednesday night on SBS News, I was watching the latest update on the Gaza situation. This event is distressing and provides a sad illustration where neither side of the conflict is without fault.
However, in that segment, six or seven so-called Israeli collaborators were shown executed by a Palestinian mob and one of those murdered was then roped behind a motorcycle and paraded through the streets of Gaza. My impression was that at that moment, Israel won the public relations war. It is true that Israel was justified in reacting to the long-term onslaught of rocket attacks. It is also true that the Israelis have a democratically elected parliament and an independent judiciary.
Yet, just kilometres away, a Palestinian lynch mob can demonstrate their anger by replicating a Lord of the Flies moment. Who were these poor souls and what was their crime? No trial occurred and a summary execution followed. Is this the sort of justice a new Palestine would offer its citizens? Shame on them and shame on those upstanding citizens of Gaza who have fought (peacefully) for their state's independence and yet stood by while this atrocity occurred.
Ron Forrester, Duffy
It is appalling that Rex Williams (Letters, November 22) would deny the federal member for Eden-Monaro, Dr Mike Kelly, his democratic and human rights, and somehow prevent him from showing support for Israel in the current conflict. Is he saying that Dr Kelly somehow loses these rights when he becomes a federal MP? To support Israel when the brutal Hamas controllers in Gaza are continuing to send rockets into southern Israel, at the behest of Iran and supplied by them, to me shows an admirable sense of conviction by Dr Kelly.
Vic Adams, Reid
I read with interest Paul McElligott's letter (November 21) and that he recognises the ''borders given [Israel] upon its creation as a modern state''.
Important that he has recognised that the ''1967 borders'' are in fact the ceasefire lines drawn in 1949 at the conclusion of the wars launched by Israel's Arab neighbours when it was created. The ''West Bank (of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan)'' was in Jordanian hands at the conclusion of hostilities in 1949, territory captured during that war, but in reality part of the modern state of Israel at its creation, and reclaimed in 1967 on another occasion when Israel was attacked by her neighbours.
Gaza was under Egyptian control until the signing of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.
Bill Arnold, Chifley
For a fleeting moment in 2007 I thought the way we treated those seeking asylum in this country would not suffer the same fate they did during the Howard years. How wrong I was as Labor has proven they can be even more hairy chested than the previous government. Labor has turned into a Liberal Party on steroids as it panders to the ever-growing number of rednecks and those who have forgotten that we have a responsibility to treat these people seeking asylum humanely.
D. J. Fraser, Mudgeeraba, Qld
We are all curious
I enjoyed Bill Deane's soaring rhetoric and accusatory alliteration (Letters, November 21) but I'm afraid that, in Bill's desire to stamp out what he sees as political correctness, he has missed the point of my letter. My point was that Don Aitkin's desire for a clever line had led him into some logical traps. To take the point further: Don said it was strange for a person (Shane Mortimer) who did not look Aboriginal to be banging on about his ancestors. In fact, ancestor-obsession is pretty much universal. How otherwise do we explain the huge interest in genealogy exhibited globally by all people of all backgrounds?
David Stephens, Bruce
Huawei is private
Dr Andrew Leigh's comments regarding Huawei Technologies (''Huawei ban still rankles Chinese'', November 19, p5) were completely inaccurate. Dr Leigh's false claim that there is ''evidence of links between Huawei and the Chinese government'' does not stand up to any scrutiny. Huawei is one of China's largest private companies, and is 100 per cent owned by its employees.
In Australia Huawei works with all major operators, and 50 per cent of Australians are already using a Huawei product for some part of their daily telecommunications needs. Dr Leigh's claim to being ''concerned'' about the security of the NBN is equally spurious. Huawei is building eight of the nine NBN-style networks around the world, including Britain's NBN, where Huawei has been working with BT for the past seven years.
Jeremy Mitchell, director of corporate and public affairs, Huawei Australia
Stay with the menu
One thing I always look forward to in Food and Wine are the restaurant reviews. We don't always agree, but that's the nature of a review. My objection to Bryan Martin's review of Mezzalira (''Eat with the fishes'', November 21, p7) was the fact that the actual food commentary took up only about a third of the article, the bulk of the text being given over to Mr Martin's self-indulgence in what he obviously feels is his witty repartee. We really don't care about your Sicilian impersonations.
As you said yourself, Mr Martin, ''I'm no longer making sense''.
Kerren Simon, Watson
No to horses in alps
The report that Ally Durr is to walk the Australian Alps Walking Track from Walhalla in Victoria to Tharwa in the the ACT to raise awareness of Lyme disease is an inspiring one (''Ally's inspiring trek'', November 22, p12). Having done the walk myself I know the challenging physical and mental task she has set herself. I also know, having spent many years walking in the Australian Alps, the devastation to the unique alpine environment being caused by horses, both feral and shod. Creek banks are being destroyed, alpine waterways despoiled, weeds spread and hut surrounds damaged. And yet the Victorian and NSW governments continue to do nothing effective to control horse numbers and even propose to allow greater equestrian recreation access to wilderness areas.
What is being done to our precious alpine environment is nothing short of obscene and Ally's generation will suffer.
Timothy Walsh, Garran
Wind farm risks
In contrast with Doug Hynd's assertion (Letters, November 21) that there are no health impacts from wind turbines, I refer readers to the transcript of a Senate hearing held on November 14 on an Excessive Noise from Wind Farms Bill 2012, currently being considered by the Senate environment and communications legislation committee. A number of experts in Australia and overseas who were interviewed made it quite clear that exactly the opposite is the case. Hence the need for legislation to better protect rural communities in particular.
Murray May, Cook
Doug Hynd (Letters, November 21) wishes to downplay the significance of the study by Nissenbaum et al into wind turbines and ill health because ''noise levels were not measured''.
Yet an American wind energy document (Wind Turbine Sound and Health Effects), which Hynd indirectly refers to says that ''in a study of 16 sites in three European countries, only a weak correlation was noted between sound pressure level and noise annoyance from wind turbines (Pedersen and Hogskolan, 2003).'' A ''weak correlation'' suggests that the effect of wind turbines on human health is not limited to noise, but may include vibration of home structures, inaudible low-frequency noise, and possibly electromagnetic radiation. Nissenbaum's study is a world first. It doesn't worry so much about the ''why'' but focuses more on the reality: wind turbines appear to harm human health and the degree of harm correlates very neatly with distance!
George Papadopoulos, Yass, NSW
Only for the crooks
Tim Vines and his Civil Liberties gang should get up and smell the coffee (''Police tap into camera network'', November 21, p1). Police would use the images obtained from the point-to-point cameras in their efforts to catch criminals. It is not an effort to force a ''Big Brother'' syndrome upon us. It is simply using an existing resource to help make their work more productive and positive.
For Mr Vines to want to place so many barriers and requirements for the police to be obliged to follow is actually detrimental to my civil liberty as a law-abiding citizen and is yet another way to assist criminals and let their victims be damned.
I support any process that will assist the police make our society a safer and more secure place and am sure that they will not bother any citizen who has not done anything wrong.
Trevor Willis, Hughes
Science in video?
Judy Ryan's first recommendation (Letters, November 19) for her painstaking scientific research was the ''rice video''. As a ''good scientist'', perhaps Judy could explain to this non-scientist where the science is in this video? How is a pile of rice more relevant to global warming than blue ink and chalk was to tooth decay?
Should we take the video's claim that humans are responsible for one molecule in 85,800 (12ppm) - so tiny as to have no possible effect - as true?
Does Judy believe that BP's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico (780,000 cubic metres over about 10,000 square kilometres of seawater) also had no effect on sea life?
Perhaps the most illuminating part of ''rice video'' was YouTube's related videos that included 911 conspiracy theories together with anti-Jewish and anti-Islam videos. Just about says it all.
Colin Smith, Acton
TO THE POINT
Ben's a jewel, too
Ben Pobjie's article about The X Factor grand final (''The X Factor recap: Samantha Jade the jewel in the crown'', Canberra Times online, November 21) was way beyond hilarious. Rarely do you see or read something that makes you laugh out loud. Watching grass grow, contemplating your navel or a primary school recorder concert had nothing on this show. Well done, Ben. Loved it.
Lisa Dunkerton, Cairns, Qld
Gillard no better
Prime Minister Julia Gillard was incandescent with rage about Liberal sexism. However, then she joins Tony Abbott in a hot tub of racism by sentencing refugees to indefinite detention in a jobless ghetto or an offshore prison camp.
Graham Macafee, Latham
How will the government's new policy (''Desperately seeking a solution'', November 22, p1) discourage more boats? No right to work can be circumvented by cash in hand, boosted by the $438.40 fortnightly benefit and the opportunity to disappear into the wider community. It suggests these asylum seekers will achieve their aim - reaching Australia - unlike the unlucky on Manus and Nauru.
Greg Cornwell, Yarralumla
He's really been put to the scourge/ The man who gave in to an urge/ Did General Petraeus/ Completely betray us/ Or was it just part of the Surge?
Ann Darbyshire, Gunning, NSW
Defence deja vu
Julia Gillard has no recollection of certain aspects that are now coming to light over the establishment of the AWU ''slush fund''. Isn't this known as the Carmen Lawrence defence?
N. Bailey, Nicholls