I have just spent the last week holidaying in Illetas and thoroughly enjoyed reading your paper each day. I am impressed by the variety and quality of the articles but, above all, by the openness and directness of the hard issues affecting your Island, particularly those in Magalluf. As a tourist and having heard so many bad stories about behavioural issues there, it is good to see that it is being discussed openly and positive plans and actions being put in place to address them. I will be keeping an eye on developments when I return home.
I would also like to highlight a couple of other issues which have been reported in your pages:
Overflowing bins with rubbish. As a professional waste manager this is something I am aware of wherever I travel. I am aware that there is a go slow with workers who collect waste, but as an Island whose main industry is tourism this is something that needs to be resolved without delay from a visual perspective, not to mention the obvious environmental issues which will occur in such a hot climate.
Oil & Gas exploration. Where I live in Aberdeen, Scotland (which, incidentally is the Oil Capital of Europe) we are very fortunate indeed to have a thriving offshore oil and gas industry, which is not only fantastic for our local economy but indeed for the whole of the UK. This industry, which started in the 1970’s, supports around 55,000 local jobs with average salaries of £70k, and over 450,000 jobs throughout the UK.
I appreciate Majorca’s main industry is tourism but, with the proper planning, regulation and controls in place, I cannot see why both can’t be accommodated, which would provide a massive new income base for all Majorcans to enjoy for many years.
I look forward to returning to Majorca again and will be interested to see how the above are developing.
Ray Grant, Aberdeen
Middle East Situation
I totally agree with Hugh Ash’s condemnation of Hamas and how they have brutalised the population of Gaza and are conning the world with their disgusting propaganda. Of course the pictures are gut-wrenching, but anyone who deliberately sacrifices kids as a tool of war and bullies its people into being human shields can only be described as barbarians.
Up to now I have supported a two state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, but if it means terrorist thugs having a say in a future Palestine I don’t give it much chance of success.
R. Mellor, Palmanova
As it usually does, understanding for Israel never lasts long in the western media and as soon as their military responds to acts of naked aggression sympathy very quickly turns to outright hostility.
It seems the so-called ‘liberal’ press don’t have a problem with Israelis being on the sharp end of Hamas rockets and cry crocodile tears over them. After all, Israelis have Iron Dome to protect them, so they should just sit in their bomb shelters and take it on the chin.
This is the worst kind of hypocrisy and your columnist, Hugh Ash, was absolutely bang on in providing some much-needed balance to some highly-biased reporting, as he did with his very lucid comments on Sunday.
As he said, most people are ‘seduced’ by the carnage in Gaza, but they ought to ask themselves who initiated the bloodletting in the first place and who really wants to wipe out who. The short answer is Hamas, who have no regard for human life, let alone their own people, and want Israel blown off the map at any price.
Having worked in an Arab state that was nothing less than a dictatorship, I can well understand why the Arab people are fed up with their masters. But turning to extreme Islam for an answer will simply mean swapping one tyranny for another, as Hamas have shown.
Like all democracies Israel is very far from being perfect. But instead of trying to destroy it the Arabs would do better to look at it as an example of what can be achieved if peace is allowed to break out.
W.J.L. Perry, Bendinat
Reading Hugh Ash’s column (MDB 27/7) and I notice his liberal use of the term ‘terrorist’. Just to put things into perspective may I remind him that both Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, both former prime ministers of Israel, were both prominent terrorists in their day, before they found statehood and respectability. Both men were wanted, both had a price on their heads and, to borrow a favourite Israeli term, both men had blood on their hands, though it was British blood in their cases. As to Hamas, may I remind him that they were democratically elected in elections overseen by Western monitors who deemed them to be fair and free, certainly fairer than the recent elections in Egypt which brought yet another dictator to power, and that they represent the Palestinian people, from which they come. They became the bogeymen of the West when they rebelled against Israeli oppression. If Hamas are indeed running a slick PR campaign as Mr Ash suggests, well maybe they have been taking lessons from AIPAC, the undisputed kings of spin and lobbying.
I think the slaughter in Gaza is shameful and there is blame enough for all to go around. I think shelling and bombing a narrow strip of land that is over-populated and blockaded on all sides is disproportionate, not to mention immoral and against international law, and I think the ghoulish body count of the conflict bears this out. America has never been an impartial broker in this conflict, they have always blindly supported Israel, and so their peace efforts, though well intentioned, are doomed to failure. This present conflict is just the latest round of the struggle that began with the birth of the state of Israel when, not content with the land ceded to them, they embarked on a land grab that continues to this day. They have always wanted the land, the indigenous people there were just an obstacle to overcome and the myth that the land was God given to them and them alone or that it was an empty wilderness is a convenient fallacy. They have yet to solve this dilemma and by trying to solve this political problem militarily I think they are sowing the seeds of their own downfall.
Steve Humphries , Magalluf
Sadly and for too long, the Middle East has scrapped the bottom of the barrel of hatred and exported Islamic extremism to the liberal West, where frankly our leaders have been too tame to do much to stop it.
No decent human being can fail to be moved by the death and destruction going on in Gaza and Israel might be accused of trying to crack a nut with a sledgehammer.
But Hugh Ash was quite right in pointing out that if it didn’t have the strongest army in the region, every Jew there would have been slaughtered years ago and talk of ‘proportionality’ is rubbish.
You don’t deliberately provoke the toughest kid in the class into a punch-up and expect to win. As we have seen twice before, that was never Hamas’s intention. They are terrorists, just like their evil brethren throughout the Middle East and Africa, who glorify death over life and force innocent civilians to do likewise.
The West must wake up to the fact that now that the threat of communism has gone, we confront something worse in militant Islam.
So if Hamas is rewarded in any way for its barbarity in a ceasefire or treaty, it will be another nail in the coffin of the free world.
Martin Read , Oxford and Santa Ponsa
Thanks for printing Hugh Ash’s comment, because I am sick of hearing cringing liberals rant on about the Israel army being ‘war criminals’ for defending its people after months of rockets from Gaza.
The only ‘war criminals’ in all this are the Hamas cowards, who hide behind women’s skirts and kids. That’s why everybody in the civilized world calls them terrorists.
J. Clayton , Palmanova