WAR AGAINST IRAQ: WHY does the Rev Heslop (HAS, Mar 25) set out only half the story in his analysis of Israel as squeaky clean and blameless?

Surely he must accept that the worsening relations between Israel and the Palestinians remains a major factor in the disturbed state of the Middle East.

Illegal Jewish settlements continue to mushroom in occupied Palestinian areas; reciprocal atrocities abound with several thousand fatalities - most of them Palestinian.

We are told Saddam Hussein and his cohorts have not complied with no less than 18 UN resolutions since the Kuwait war.

But it also seems that Israel has been even more brazen in its defiance of UN authority regarding more than 60 resolutions since 1967.

The US has repeatedly vetoed many UN attempts to address Israel's massive non-compliance record.

Still, I would hope to join the Rev Heslop in spirit in continuing to pray for more human generosity and objectivity to bring all parties in the Middle East conflict to the conference table towards resolution of both symptom and cause factors of the sad, sorry, dangerous state of affairs in that region of this small planet. - EA Murtagh, Stockton.

THE war could be long and dirty. Why? Because Saddam has taken the Iraqi civilian population hostage, using the same terrorist methods to ensure their compliance as have always been his trademark.

The one thing the coalition must not do in these circumstances is let themselves be provoked into taking the war to him. That would play right into his hands; it would push our casualties up to unacceptably high levels and would risk forfeiting the goodwill we still enjoy in Iraq and which is crucial to our ultimate victory.

Instead, by exploiting the intelligence material that is always abundant in these sorts of situations - and not being too squeamish about how we access it - we should be ready for his forces whenever they expose themselves and then hit them hard.

That is a lesson the Americans and British should have learned, however retrospectively, in Vietnam and Northern Ireland. It is the sure way to victory, though not necessarily a quick one. - T Kelly, Crook.

IT was always clear that wars are waged to keep the arms trade going, but this week was the first time I had realised how much other business is promoted by wars.

I find it obscene that, while people are being killed, others are planning how to profit from war. Private enterprise is vying for lucrative contracts for the reconstruction of war-ravaged Iraq. - J Durham, Durham.

IT was with some interest that I read the letter from the Rev Harold Heslop (HAS, Mar 25) on the Middle East.

He states that Israel has never attempted to take over another country.

I would point out to the reverend that prior to the Second World War the country was Palestine, the police force was mainly British.

I served in the Royal Navy and we operated from Haifa from 1942 to 1944 and we found the Palestinian Arabs very good people, vastly different from Egyptians.

After the collapse of Italy in 1943 there was a continuous flow of Jews into Haifa, all manner of boats were coming into port loaded to the gunwhales with people from all over Europe.

Eventually they took over the country, chased the Palestinians into the desert and claimed the country.

The way these people have been treated is scandalous and some of the Israeli leaders are no better than Saddam. The United States does not help matters by supporting Israel. No wonder Arab countries dislike the US. - Alan Watson, Bishop Auckland.


I WAS interested to read Mike Amos's article (Echo, Mar 27) on entertainer David Macbeth.

In the 1960s I saw David Macbeth perform live in cabaret at a North-East nightclub.

He was a singer who also told a few jokes and was doing a three-night engagement.

Getting to and from the toilets at the club meant walking past the cabaret floor and people would do this during the performance.

One night a chap was leaving the gents and returning to his seat when David Macbeth said: "Could you hear us in there? We could hear you." It was a tried and trusted joke and the audience laughed. - LD Wilson, Guisborough.


PLEASE will the powers that be leave our village post office alone. Pensioners have plenty to do keeping up with the change in money. They do not like cards, they are so easily lost. This is more worry and stress.

Even the small banks have been taken from us.

I wonder if this is another way of making people use the bus. - WH Cameron, Brandon.


MY sister was a nurse, a very kind person who would not hurt or harm anyone. Sadly, my sister died two years ago, she is buried in West Cemetery in Darlington.

In the last two months someone has stolen three potted plants from her grave, even removing the cards with the special verses on.

What I would like to know, what sort of people can rob someone's grave with no thought to the people who care for her grave, my mother, my father and myself?

I hope the persons in question read this letter and may have some remorse for what they have done. - Pamela J Sowerby, Darlington.


I HAVE read somewhere that there are an estimated seven tons of insects per human in the world.

So it was interesting to read (Echo, Mar 29) about a gene process which could eradicate mosquitoes from the planet.

I have also read that they can carry 200 diseases, not just malaria. Eradication has got my vote. - F Atkinson, Shincliffe.