The last day of October, and the last day of a month that will live in infamy. Hamas’s attacks on Israeli citizens just over three weeks ago have triggered a Middle East conflagration that threatens to become a defining conflict of our age.
It is to their credit that the British government, so far, has been so unequivocal in its public statements and its support for Israel to defend itself.
To do anything else would be to, effectively, negotiate with terrorists. Hamas are not freedom fighters; they are murderers, and though there are many who can make a compelling case for Palestine and for a two-state solution, those people are not whom Israel is currently fighting.
Hamas is not interested in a ceasefire. Hamas is not interested in anything, in fact, other than the preservation of its status and the destruction of the state of Israel.
Labour’s frontbench, too, in their audition for power, have shown themselves to be grown-ups about an issue that has more often than not in the past tripped them up.
Unfortunately, the rest of the British establishment has not quite lived up to the mark. The BBC has tied itself in grim knots over what to call a group that beheaded innocent civilians, and the Metropolitan Police still seems unclear of what its own hate speech laws are, let alone whether to enforce them or not.
It is not for this column to propose a solution to this latest conflict in the Middle East; though, if we were to, we’d use the two-state solution offered to, and rejected by, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in 2000 as a pretty good starting point. Without anybody to unite the modern factions of Palestinian leadership, it is likely that any effort is doomed to fail anyway.
But we can look upon the videos of anti-Semites charging through the airport in Russia looking for Jews, and see the Jewish schools evacuated in Paris, and the windows of Jewish shops smashed in right here in London, and simply reflect that we once, not so long ago, said never again.