SIR - The conflict in Israel and Gaza is deeply troubling and my heart goes out to the families of all those innocent lives lost on both sides.

Hamas’ terror attack on Israel was absolutely barbaric and cannot be justified.

The indiscriminate bombing of civilians in Gaza is also barbaric and cannot be justified.

Israel has the right to defend itself. But that must be proportionate and in adherence with international law.

There has already been too much bloodshed during this conflict. I join calls for an immediate ceasefire and release of hostages.

It is also vital that there is continued humanitarian access to Gaza and sufficient supplies of food, water, electricity and medicines.

As humans, it is only natural that we would be affected by seeing such loss and suffering.

But here in West Yorkshire our diversity is our strength and we must pull together instead of apart during troubling times. We cannot allow the tragic events in the Middle East to divide our communities.

I am aware of a small increase in reports of both anti-Semitic and Islamophobic hate crime since the conflict flared up.

And I want to be absolutely clear that we must not and we will not stand for any such threats and abuse in our communities.

We are in touch with faith leaders and West Yorkshire Police and have been assured that there will be a robust response to any perpetrator of hate in our region.

I stand shoulder to shoulder with the Jewish and Muslim communities during this difficult time, as we think of the victims of this violent conflict.

Tracy Brabin, West Yorkshire mayor