There will be no peace without a prosperous Palestine

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For how much longer will bloodshed continue in the Middle East (“Israelis prepare to roll into Gaza”, 10/10) before the warring parties come to understand that there will be no peace until a prosperous, independent Palestine is established alongside Israel, as envisaged after World War II. The process would well begin with the withdrawal of all Israeli forces from the West Bank, as demanded by Security Council Resolution 242 following the Six-Day War of 1967. This to be followed by the removal of Israeli citizens from the illegally established settlements.
Ian Brown, Sandringham

Inevitable escalation
Hamas has shown the world who they really are; terrorist thugs (“Fate of hostages will be key to Israel’s response”, 10/10). They would be well aware that Israel would retaliate to such an unprecedented vicious attack on its citizens and that as a result many Palestinians under its rule in Gaza would die. They have kept their population in abject poverty, despite foreign aid pouring in for a long period of time. Hamas must be removed from leadership. To date Palestinian leaders have shown themselves corrupt and indifferent to the suffering of their people. If the Israeli leaders were really smart they would, once the situation has been brought under control and Hamas ousted, pour money into Gaza and rally other countries to do the same to improve the conditions of the people and from there to work towards a two-state solution with moderate Palestinians who recognise Israel’s right to exist.
Ruja Varon, Malvern

Torment at Israeli hands
Human suffering is human suffering whether experienced by Israelis, Palestinians, Afghans, Ukrainians, Libyans or countless others. It always seems, however, that some suffering receives special attention. It is truly shocking what some Israeli citizens are going through at present. Yet the desperate plight of the Palestinian Arabs, especially in Gaza but also in the West Bank, and the torment they have suffered at the hands of Israeli governments for decades, has rarely been acknowledged. Anthony Albanese, Penny Wong, Richard Marles and other Western leaders do not represent me in their total support of Israel. Nor does it surprise that demonstrators have expressed their fury at the bias shown towards that country, even to the extent of lighting up prominent buildings in blue and white. The world must look deeply at and sort out the whole tragic situation.
Jill Toulantas, Clifton Hill

Relentless attacks
Contrary to what some observe, the barbarism undertaken by Hamas has nothing to do with Al Aqsa or any other of Israel’s supposed crimes. It is entirely due to the fact that they were Jews. Hamas doesn’t seek a two-state solution and never did. Its sole aim is the total annihilation of Israel and all the Jews within it. The massacres on Saturday were the worst killing of Jews since the Holocaust. To quote the late Golda Meir, you can’t negotiate with someone who wants to kill you.
Debbie Wiener, East St Kilda

New depths
The barbaric terrorist attack on innocent and defenceless revellers has sunk to new depths of depravity. It will ensure mutual hate for decades to come.
George Djoneff, Mitcham

Walking in another’s shoes
It is unsurprising that defenders of the state of Israel, (Letters, 10/10), reference the Holocaust in their response to these latest atrocities by Hamas. Undoubtedly there is intergenerational trauma there and for good reason. I do wonder though how the Jewish diaspora would react if the polarity was reversed? If it was the Jewish people who were crammed for decades into a Gaza ghetto? I suggest these defenders would again be referencing a continuing Holocaust. There are none so blind as those who will not see.
Peter Sheehan, Camberwell


Sails of unity
“Premier Chris Minns has defended his government’s decision to not light up the sails of the Sydney Opera House for King Charles’ coronation … saying the hefty cost of the lights could be better used elsewhere” (The Age, 8/5). Yet Labor lights up the Opera House in blue and white, at risk of inciting the division and hatred we have witnessed in the Middle East. What a contrast: King Charles III, monarch and head of state for 14 sovereign countries coexisting in relative peace and stability, while uniting 2.4 billion people in 56 Commonwealth countries.
Ronald Elliott, Sandringham

Worth sharing
The idea of people sharing a house during these tough economic times – most recently mooted by the former governor of the Reserve Bank in May – can be a feasible one. I speak from experience, having done this within the first 12 months of arriving in Australia. I wish I’d had your article (“Home affairs: How to happily get on in a share house during a rental crisis”, 6/10) to help ease me into this type of living arrangement, but we, mostly in our late 20s, made it work.

I was the last person in and didn’t know any of the others. I used the services of Rent/Share-a-Flat. I sussed out half-a-dozen places and was lucky enough to find a place in Castlecrag, in Sydney, overlooking Sugarloaf Bay. I have very happy memories – of us all getting along, shopping and doing the chores, cooking at least one meal together each week. And that was in a house with a small kitchen and very small bathroom.

Oh, and the leaseholder eventually became my husband. Happy days indeed.
Caroline Heard, Glen Huntly

Tiny apartments
Few would question that the housing crisis is real, but do we really need to resort to building 24-square-metre units in response? (“Are tiny apartments the answer to the housing crisis?” 8/10). These units rely on communal spaces – kitchen, dining area and garden to provide necessary facilities. After incorporating the bathroom and space for the bed into the 24 square metres, it will be possible to walk around your bed but that’s about it. No balcony and no private space to have friends over or heaven forbid – a pet or a pot plant. Our children will not thank us for building the slums of the future.
Jenny Macmillan, Clifton Hill

Outward looking
Quite a few years ago, I saw a TV documentary about providing more appropriate housing for Indigenous Australians, especially for those living in remote areas. The prototype allowed residents to open up to, and to interact with, their community. The inward-looking suburban houses provided were prone to vandalism because of their unsuitability, and this new design was seen as a solution.
I often wondered whether they were actually introduced, but judging by the article in Saturday’s Age about designing suitable housing for Aboriginal Australians (“Push for homes that suit Indigenous needs”, 7/10), nothing had eventuated. This reveals how difficult it can be to get good ideas up, and emphasises the need to improve consultation.
Paul Spinks, South Geelong

Smart design
It was gratifying to read about the Wilya Janta housing organisation from Tennant Creek, which has designed a culturally appropriate house that suits climate conditions and the needs of the community. It’s just one example of what is possible when Aboriginal people are empowered to decide for themselves what they need.
Jane Desailly, Brunswick

In the black
In response to your correspondent’s letter about all the black roofs in new suburbs (“Paint it black”, 8/10), the explanation is that houses with black roofs get a better energy rating in Victoria. That’s because Victoria is a predominantly heating area – more energy is used in heating here than in cooling. Interestingly, the roofing sheet manufacturers try to make black roofs more reflective to reduce heat gain. But the program does not take that into account.

We have made our pitched roof steep and black facing north, to catch the low winter sun, but white and nearly horizontal elsewhere, to reflect the high summer sun.
Peter Seligman, Brunswick West

International image
Your correspondent (“Mixed vibes”, 8/10) suggests we might not look too good on the world stage if the referendum result is in the negative. But have we ever really looked good? We might be kidding ourselves. Australia has been condemned by the UN on refugees and our treatment of Indigenous Australians. Scott Morrison’s attitude to global warming was embarrassing internationally, and, arguably, he was barely acknowledged by Joe Biden because of it (“the guy from Down Under” as Biden called him).
David Fry, Moonee Ponds

Confusing questions
The advertisement by United Australia Party senator Ralph Babet in The Age looks like a clever attempt to confuse people into voting No in the Voice referendum. The ad lists several things the Voice will not do but deliberately adds a question mark after each point as if to suggest it might be possible. The ad asks “will the Voice have a control over Australian law?”

It won’t, and Senator Babet knows it because the referendum proposal gives it no such power.
Peter Kay, Carlton North

More contradictions
David Crowe (“Good news for the messenger but not for his message”, 9/10) points out one contradiction with the Voice: “How can it be a modest request when it is meant to achieve so much?” Yet the Voice is plagued by other ambiguities and contradictions. How will it close the gap when it “isn’t a funding body” and is “merely an advisory body” according to Anthony Albanese?

The Voice will represent all Indigenous people, but Voice members will be “chosen” rather than democratically elected. It will cost millions of dollars to implement but according to Albanese it will “reduce waste”. Australians were told that the Voice referendum would unite people but it has been very divisive. Is it any wonder the Yes message is not getting through?
Peter Martina, Warrnambool

Working solution
The Australian motto “a fair go” is dead. Isn’t it fair and reasonable to give a minority a Voice to talk about what would work for them? To recognise their position as First Nations people like so many other countries have done?

This is not about politics, it is about fairness and simply giving 3 per cent of our people a chance to talk about what would work in their communities around this large land.
Joan Johnson, Camberwell

Permanent change
Writing of his reluctance to vote Yes next Saturday (Letters, 9/10), your correspondent, a retired VCE history teacher, explains that “I am still unconvinced that it’s the right thing to put an untested, inadequately explained body permanently in the Constitution”. He goes on to add that “I am not ignorant, I simply don’t know.

Perhaps it would be worthwhile for him, and all similarly inclined potential No voters, to acknowledge that the Australian Constitution in 1901 was an “untested, inadequately explained body” which was permanently brought into law. Times change, and thinking with them. The Constitution is not the Bible, fortunately.
Ian Usman Lewis, Kentucky, NSW

Too old to vote?
It looks like those who vote No in the Voice referendum will be in the majority. Looking at the age breakdown of voting intentions, it seems older voters will carry the day in voting No. Older voters also carried the day in the UK’s Brexit referendum.

Is it time to deny older voters, say those over 50, from voting in referendums, especially on questions that will have a very long-term impact, as all do. Those voters will probably not live to see the ultimate outcome of their vote? The next referendum should ask that very question.
And that should save me a trip to the polling booth in the future.
Graham Bridge, Morwell

Asking questions
Switzerland’s direct democracy thrives on referendums. Last year alone they held three, each dealing with multiple policy proposals, the majority of which were carried. Apparently none of them resembled our Trumpian free-for-all.
Bernd Rieve, Brighton

Cancer concerns
Your article on councils phasing out glyphosate due to cancer concerns (“Councils’ weed-killing plans cop a spray”, 9/10) needs perspective. The World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has indeed classified glyphosate as a category 2A substance – “Probably carcinogenic to humans.” Other situations in that category include emissions from high-temperature frying, working as a hairdresser or barber, night shift work and eating red meat.
Category 1 are the ones that definitely cause cancer. Unsurprisingly, these include asbestos and tobacco smoke. They also include benzene, which is found at significant levels in all forms of petrol, and diesel exhaust, alcoholic beverages, the Epstein-Barr virus (that causes glandular fever) and consumption of processed meat.

In which case, it would appear I’m done for. Given this perspective, careful use of glyphosate, which is effective at controlling weeds, seems a reasonable choice.
Alex Judd, Blackburn North

Hamming it up
Not normally a chicken with his puns, methinks vegetarian Sammy J (“Day on a plate”, 8/10) was feeding you a few porky pies. With poached quail eggs, slow-roasted suckling pig and stewed venison on his menu, it might have been better to meat him to get the real bones of the interview.
Steve Haylock, Mount Waverley


Credit: Illustration: Matt Golding

Israel/Palestine, Russia/Ukraine, China/Taiwan? – has the decline of the UN ever been more devastating?
Greg Curtin, Nunawading

While the innocents are the ones suffering, the arms manufacturers are rubbing their hands together and saying we can help.
Bruce Dudon, Woodend

The Voice
What I cannot get my head around is that our original inhabitants need permission from all and sundry to be recognised in the Constitution.
Helena Kilingerova, Vermont

Sick of talking about the Voice? None more so than the First Nations peoples.
Rebecca Bone, Foster

George Brandis (Comment, 9/10) may claim that it is a calumny that Australians who vote No are a racist people. However, those who do must surely realise that they are boosting the votes of racists and their ilk.
Pat Anderson, Airport West

I agree with Sean Kelly, (Comment, 9/10) that we should be voting Yes, but I fear that it is the people not reading The Age that need to be convinced.
Robin Jensen, Castlemaine

My rules of thumb? Any food with more than five ingredients or is advertised (e.g. no one advertises carrots) is probably ultra-processed and should be avoided (“The key to eating well? Avoid ultra-processed foods,” 10/10).
Wayne Robinson, Kingsley

I always enjoy Besha Rodell’s well-considered dining reviews, and Tuesday’s (10/10) was exceptional: a restaurant seemingly designed by ChatGPT, mediocre food and a bombe Alaska charred. Lessons to be learned?
Mary Cole, Richmond

The world is getting smaller and so are apartments (“Are tiny apartments the answer to housing crisis?” 8/10). Are these actually small apartments or just big cupboards?
Dennis Fitzgerald, Box Hill

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