This week's MP's column is from Philip Davies, Conservative MP for Shipley 

A FORTNIGHT ago details started to emerge of the devastating murderous attacks that had taken place in Israel where people going about their daily lives had been ambushed by Hamas terrorists.

The stories that are still emerging are truly horrific. There have been reports of families separated and killed, babies taken hostage, parents forced to watch the killing of their children on videos sent to them by the terrorists.

And people burned. The terror and violence inflicted is unimaginable.

As onlookers from Britain, these sickening, brutal acts are almost too difficult to comprehend and I cannot begin to understand how those directly affected can ever get over such an atrocity.

I have been to Israel and Palestine – more than once – and I have met with Israeli politicians and with members of the Palestinian Authority. I have always said there is right and wrong on both sides of the Israel/Palestine conflict.

However, whatever your view on the wider conflict – and many people have understandable concerns about some of the behaviour of Israel – you have to accept that only Hamas is to blame for the current crisis and bloodshed.

Hamas has declared war on Israel and made it clear that they believe Israel should be wiped off the face of the earth.

Israel not only has an absolute right to defend itself – it has a duty to do so for the people who live there. I fully support them in their mission to rescue the Israeli hostages being held in Gaza and to seek to eliminate Hamas. Israel has every right to take any action within international law to achieve those objectives.

What is happening at the moment in Gaza is absolutely terrible for the people there and everyone wants to see civilian casualties kept to an absolute minimum.

However, Hamas spent a long time planning their atrocity. They knew it would provoke a huge retaliation from Israel but made no plans to evacuate their citizens to escape this. In fact they have been urging those civilians to stay in Gaza.

It is Hamas that has no regard for human life – either in Israel or in Gaza.

They are also renowned for deploying the disgusting tactic of using children and civilians as human shields for their military infrastructure.

Because of the inevitability of civilian casualties in any Israeli response – not least when they are being put in harm’s way deliberately by Hamas – some people are understandably asking for a ceasefire to be agreed.

Of course nobody wants to see any more civilian casualties, but a ceasefire would mean Israel would be unable to use force to rescue the hostages still being held by Hamas in Gaza, and it would mean that Hamas fighters would be given immunity to plan their next terrorist attack on Israel.

The idea that Israel should sit back and accept this massive massacre of its people without any retaliatory measures isn’t remotely realistic.

Some people are also seeking to impose rules of war on Israel that would not be expected of any other country which had experienced anything like this terrorist attack from Hamas. It seems that Israel is the only country in the world to be attacked for being attacked.

For those who say that the Israeli response has been disproportionate, I would ask what would they consider to be a proportionate response for Israel to take in reaction to the biggest killing of Jews in one day since the holocaust at the hands of Hamas who – as well as being terrorists – are the controlling authority in Gaza? What would anyone else do?

This whole situation has caused division in this country which is a sad additional consequence of the actions of Hamas.

Some people here are actively glorifying Hamas and acting in a way that is deeply distressing to British Jews (and the BBC should hang its head in shame for refusing to describe Hamas as terrorists).

Anti-Semitic incidents in the UK have more than trebled over the last two weeks and it has been reported that there has also been a similar increase in crimes against Muslims.

I am pleased that the Government has issued stark warnings to those who act in this way and I hope the full force of the law is used to stop them from this totally unacceptable behaviour.

I am afraid that I have also been sent some deeply unpleasant messages for stating my support for Israel in this war with Hamas.

Whatever side one takes in the wider conflict, Israelis and Palestinians need to work together to wipe out Hamas. There can never be any peace and stability with them there. All they bring is misery and suffering to residents of both Israel and Gaza alike.

  •  The views expressed in this column are those of Philip Davies