Last month, Israel suffered the worst terrorist attack in its history, with hundreds of innocent people butchered and many more taken hostage back to the Gaza Strip.

In the wake of such hideous atrocities, Israel has sought to hunt down the perpetrators so that its people can have the hope of living freely and safely once again.

But as soon as Israeli forces turned their sights on Hamas, they faced a growing international chorus – led by the Left – to down weapons as part of a ceasefire. This is what protesters have taken to the streets each week to demand, while others go further and send the police into spirals of semantic panic with their calls for “jihad”.

It is also the issue that has plunged Labour into turmoil, with Sir Keir Starmer trying to stand firm in insisting it is “not the correct decision for now”.

It is worth remembering how bizarre such a move would be given what Israel has gone through. No one suggested after 9/11 that the United States should sit back and bury the hatchet with Al-Qaeda, or that the United Kingdom should do the same with ISIS after the Manchester Arena bombing.

Yet Israel’s critics believe it should be the exception. Why would they deny Israel the right to defend itself, a right any sovereign nation would expect? Simply put, they believe it would somehow secure peace.

The absurdity of this idea is clear when you consider what this would mean for the aggressor – Hamas. They broke the ceasefire in launching last month’s attacks. And now one of their leading lights, Ghazi Hamad, has declared today that they have “the determination, the resolve and the capabilities to fight.”

He made clear that “everything we do is justified” because “Israel is a country that has no place on our land”.

He added: “We must remove that country because it constitutes a security, military and political catastrophe to the Arab and Islamic nations, and must be finished.”

In effect, a ceasefire would leave Israel vulnerable to the same terrorists who struck before, and have made clear they remain able and willing to strike again.

Hamad is no rogue operator. He is part of Hamas’ leadership and representing their core belief that Israel should be wiped off the face of the map.

Their founding charter makes that only too clear, billing Hamas as “one of the links in the chain of the struggle against the Zionist invaders” and that the Day of Judgement will not come until the Muslims fight and kill the Jews.

Laid out in such stark terms, it is no surprise that the Left prefer to talk about anything else such as the tragic fallout of Israel’s response.

Israel has ‘right to defend itself’ says Robert Courts

Too often, they take whatever Hamas say as gospel even if it fast unravels under scrutiny. We saw this notoriously after the destruction of the Al-Ahli hospital, where Israel was swiftly blamed despite the evidence making clear it was likely to be one of the hundreds of misfiring rockets fired from Gaza by the terrorists.

They instinctively side with the plight of the Palestinian people. Yet they don’t consider enough whether they might think differently to Hamas. It turns out many do, with half of those polled in Gaza recently saying that the Hamas “should stop calling for Israel’s destruction” and accept a permanent two-state solution.

As complex as the history of the Middle East peace process may be, the fundamentals could not be simpler. How can the Israeli people be expected to tolerate terrorists operating freely on their doorstep? There can be no peace as long as Hamas sees its mission as eradicating Israel.

No one can be in any doubt who the real obstacle to peace is in this conflict. The hard truth is that if Hamas stopped fighting tomorrow, peace would prevail. If Israel stopped fighting, it would soon cease to exist. With so much at stake, the Left can no longer turn a blind eye to what is going on.

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