I am horrified by the details of the barbaric terror attacks committed by Hamas last weekend, which of course are ongoing with continued rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel. At least 1,300 Israelis – innocent men, women and children – have been killed, with 16 British citizens confirmed dead or still missing.
Israel has the right to defend itself and its people, and I fully support it in doing so. The first duty of any government is the safety and security of its people.
As an advanced democratic state, of course any action taken by Israel should be in line with international law. It should be targeted at Hamas and those who perpetrated these atrocities.
Hamas do not speak for or act on behalf of all Palestinians and every effort should be made to protect the civilian population. It will also be vital to ensure humanitarian assistance to Gaza during any action, including access to food, water, electricity and medicines.
I am particularly concerned by the impact that these events are having on our Jewish population here in the UK. It was particularly sickening to see some elements of our society organising protests outside the Israeli embassy just hours after the attacks by Hamas last weekend. According to Community Security Trust, antisemitic incidents have quadrupled since the attacks. This is simply wrong and I utterly condemn all those who are targeting, intimidating and threatening Jewish people for actions happening in the Middle East.
My thoughts are with all those who have been killed, maimed or affected in any way as a result of the atrocities committed by Hamas. Israelis and Palestinians deserve peace and security, which must be the ultimate objective of any further action. I will continue to follow events closely.