Former LFI chair and MP for Liverpool Riverside Dame Louise Ellman has written the below article for Jewish News. Click here to read the original.
It’s hard to believe that a little over a month ago I was part of an LFI delegation visiting Kibbutz Kfar Aza.
The group, led by Sharon Hodgson MP for Washington and Sunderland West, included prospective parliamentary candidates Dan Tomlinson, Jake Richards, Melanie Onn, Jo Platt, Graeme Downie and Primesh Patel.
We travelled across Israel and spent time in Ramallah talking to Palestinian activists.
We held discussions with Israelis and Palestinians seeking a better future by working together.
Yet the horrendous events of the past few days have made our visit to Kibbutz Kfar Aza our outstanding memory.
We were shown round Kfar Aza by an impressive and personable third generation kibbutznik.
Her knowledge, commitment and friendliness made a wonderful impression on us.
We walked round Kfar Aza, ate in the kibbutz dining room and spoke to kibbutzniks.
We walked to the security fence separating Israel from Gaza, understanding the vulnerability of the situation while we heard how constant shelling from Gaza affected everyday life.
Yet it was a profound shock to hear that Hamas’s murderous attack on Israel and the Jewish people left Kfar Aza a scene of massacre with residents murdered, taken hostage or missing.
This was part of a catastrophic event reverberating across the Jewish world: the biggest loss of Jewish life in a single day since the Holocaust.
The formidable challenge facing Israel now is to rescue the hostages and deal once and for all with the genocidal Iranian backed Hamas whose charter states that Jews control the world and that ‘there will be no peace until the Muslims kill the Jews”.
Israel has not only the right, but a duty, to defend its people against the terrorist threat posed by Hamas by dismantling its military infrastructure and installations.
Israel must continue to take all possible steps to protect civilians, a task made formidable by Hamas deliberately and cynically using civilians as human shields.
Hamas should be recognised for what it is – a deeply antisemitic terrorist organisation for whom peace with Israel is anathema.
The answer to the tragic conflict between Israelis and Palestinians lies in a two-state solution, with an independent Palestine alongside a secure Israel.
Hamas’s actions make this objective even harder to achieve, but we must not lose sight of it.