At the start of his response to the prime minister’s statement on the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas today, Labour leader Keir Starmer condemned Hamas’s “barbarism” following the horrific terror attacks of 7 October.
He said: “The brutal attack in Israel just over two weeks ago was the darkest day in Jewish history since the holocaust—two weeks of grief for the innocent people who lost brothers, sisters, children; two weeks of torture for the families whose loved ones were taken hostage by Hamas. There was a small glimmer of light this weekend with the release of two American hostages, Natalie and Judith Raanan. I met members of their family last week, and I know that they will be overcome with relief. But Hamas still hold hundreds more—sons, daughters, mums, dads are still missing. They are innocent people who could, if Hamas willed it, be released immediately. But they remain hostage because Hamas want the chaos of war. Hamas want Jews to suffer. Hamas want the Palestinian people to share in the pain, because the Palestinian people are not their cause, and peace is not their aim. The dignity of human life—Jew or Muslim—means absolutely nothing to them. In light of their barbarism, Israel has the right to defend herself. Yes, to get her hostages home, but also to defeat Hamas so that nobody need suffer like this again and so that we might once more see a road to a lasting peace, with a Palestinian state alongside a safe and secure Israel.”
He went on to discuss the need to ensure that humanitarian aid reaches Gaza, and “a political path to a two-state solution and a better future”.
You can read Starmer’s full comments, as well as the entire debate, here.