Dear Sir,
Much as I admire the work of environmentalists in protecting this lovely island, they must get real about the economics which support people's daily lives: if beaches are not regenerated by bringing in more sand, then many tourists will stay away and the local economy will plummet. Then the questions asked will not be about the loss of a rare form of seaweed, but about the loss of livelihood to hardworking Majorcan families. It is a stark choice. Dredging sand is not without a risk which must be continually assessed, but it was not many years ago that the Palmanova beach was just a couple of metres wide at high water-mark; there was an outcry from some environmentalists when the authorities decided to import thousands of tonnes of sand and to put in under-beach drainage to make what is now a large and superb beach which has proved stable despite the storms. It is a magnificent tourist asset which has greatly enhanced the local economy. I once again remind your readers that if they took a trip around the island noting down all the industry that is not tourist-related, their notebook would be largely empty. And without tourism, so would their wallets.

Steve Riches, Northampton, U.K. by e-mail

What have farmers got to with with tourists?

Dear Sir,
I am writing to comment on the tourist tax which came into being on May 1st. My wife and I who have been coming to Majorca for 20 years are strongly against the introduction of the tax, and think that it is an insult to the British tourists who for years have kept the economy of the island going, by contributing millions of pesetas, pounds and now euros, to make the island what it is today. The comments made in your newspaper by the Minister for Tourism are a pathetic excuse to justify the tax. What has buying land to make green areas and helping the farmers got to do with the hard-working British tourist who saves hard to come on holiday here? We have heard reports that the aim of the Balearic government is to attract middle class tourists staying in five star hotels. Well, by introducing this tax, they are going about it the right way. In your newspaper, you featured the rates of the tourist tax for the various accommodations, be warned this is only the start and I forsee a rise in rates each year or so, as is often the case. One other point, why don't the local people have to pay the tax or people who own apartments and rent them out to tourists? It is no good saying that the locals pay their income taxes, so do most tourists in their own country. On a different matter, why and who has introduced the up-trading of the popular shows at Son Amar, Pirates and the Casino? Is this another way of creating a class structure on the island of Majorca? Finally my wife and I have been taking a holiday in September-October for years. This year we are going to Turkey. I hope thousands more do the same.

Yours faithfully

Doreen & Brian Beebee

Editor's note: thank you for your comments, all local residents staying at hotels and registered apartments, like yourself, do have to pay the tourist tax.

The full truth of the Palestinian tragedy should be made public

Dear Sir,
I have been meaning to write for a long time to tell you how much I enjoy Ray Fleming's editorials and how stimulating I find his incisive treatment of many subjects which other writers seem to ignore. A case in point is the current Palestinian situation. As the Jewish domination proceeds unabated in Palestine, the public seems to have forgotten how this sad affair commenced, and I find it strange that one rarely reads of the Balfour declaration which, after all, triggered all that has followed since that fatidic letter was sent by Lord Balfour to Lord Rothschild on 2nd November, 1917.

“Dear Lord Rothschild, I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty's Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet: “His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, IT BEING CLEARLY UNDERSTOOD THAT NOTHING SHALL BE DONE WHICH MAY PREJUDICE THE CIVIL AND RELIGIOUS RIGHTS OF THE EXISTING NON-JEWISH COMMUNITIES IN PALESTINE,OR THE RIGHTS AND POLITICAL STATUS ENJOYED BY JEWS IN ANY OTHER COUNTRY.
I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.
Yours sincerely,
Arthur Balfour”

At that time, 90 per cent of the population of Palestine consisted of Arabs of the Muslim faith who had enjoyed almost thirteen hundred years of virtually uninterrupted existence in Palestine. I can only presume that ignorance of the historical facts has prevented the public from rallying around the Palestinians as they lose what little is left of their territory and their political integrity. Martin Luther King once said “The ultimate tragedy is not the brutality of the bad people but the silence of the good people.” I believe it is about time that the full truth of the Palestinian tragedy should be made public and if we, the general onlookers, do nothing else, at least we should inform ourselves from what the (unbiased) history books tell us. Thank you for not being silent.

Yours sincerely,

Jessie Owen. By e-mail

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