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Letters to the Editor

From time to time, a commentary on the world will bubble up inside of me to the extent that I'm forced to write a letter to my local, metropolitan, daily newspaper, The Age. This is where I blow of some steam. Feel like venting too? Add your own comment or visit my homepage.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

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Outposts for Outlaws

Perched on hill-top outposts in caravans and fortified shipping containers, a few thousand illegal settlers are dreaming of a promised land, Greater Israel. Settlers in these "outpost communities" are mostly religious militants who believe they have a covenant with Yahweh, thousands of years old, that means they can inhabit this land despite Israeli polls, the UN, international law or even, it seems, US power.

Suffering in the ordinary lives of others radiates out in concentric circles: they separate Palestinian farmers from their fields and villages and disrupt adjacent communities; young Israeli conscripts risk their lives - and humanity - guarding them through oppression; millions of Palestinians live without hope in miserable refugee camps; millions more Israelis live in fear and, increasingly, apartheid and backwardness; an Arab world boils over with frustration and anger at the gross unfairness and Western indifference and hypocricy; a whole world worries about what could follow and how it will end.

These settlers realise their ambitions at the enormous expense of those around them. Rather than dismissed as the lunatic fringe, they are at the centre of a geo-political and ethnic conflict with global consequences. Such a massive imbalance in favour of their interests will only reinforce their belief that they have been singled out as God's chosen people.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

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Tax Status

If the Howard Government is so concerned about "tax status creep" for charities, why did they abandon reform of discretionary family trusts?