I suspect I am not alone in being very distressed by the dreadful situation in Gaza, in which the Israeli government seems to be using the outrageous terror attack by Hamas as an excuse to eradicate (by accident or design) the civilian population. I had hoped that the British government would, by now, be urging Israel to stop the incessant bombing and siege, recognising the need for protection of civilians in both Israel and Gaza. Instead, we seem close to being drawn into the conflict, which risks UK complicity in human rights abuses and even potential genocide.
The news of UK involvement in air strikes on Yemen brings us perilously close to a wider war, and I fear we might find ourselves fighting on the wrong side. Can we, as a country, really defend the international rules-based order, liberal democracy and human freedoms, whilst supporting the destruction of Gaza? The Houthis are clear that their attacks on Western shipping are being undertaken in support of the civilian population there. Surely, instead of further increasing tensions, a better solution would be for Britain to urge a cessation to the bombs falling on Gaza, and to increase humanitarian support for the Palestinians, which would have the advantage of avoiding escalation and a potential wider war.
What is needed is a loud but firm moderating voice in support of peace and diplomacy, instead of the continued ratcheting up of tensions in the Middle East and an ever-increasing death toll and despair in Gaza. Until the situation in Palestine and Israel is resolved, world peace will surely continue to be threatened, along with a heightened risk of terror attacks in the UK.