COLUMN by Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie 

Pressure from the US and the UK has seemingly changed Israeli policy towards its invasion of Gaza.

This is an international matter I receive a lot of emails about from local people. 

The devastating death of seven aid workers – three of them British – in a strike by Israel last week has propelled discussions that were already taking place with Israel as far as I can see. Israel has now pulled out of Southern Gaza and there are reports a ceasefire could happen this week. Israeli and Hamas negotiators have been in Cairo with the US, Egypt and Qatar acting as mediators, it has been reported.

It has been six months since the horrifying and brutal attack by Hamas on Israel.  The terrorists killed thousands and took hundreds of hostages, many of whom are still being held and there are reports of ongoing abuse of women.

Like most people, I support Israel’s right to defend itself as any country should have that right against terrorists.

Hamas has threatened to repeat the heinous attacks on 7th October too.  

However, the death toll in Gaza has shocked us all and there are questions over how the fighting can stop in a lasting way. 

The UK has a role to play in this debate alongside other western nations.  Israel is a democracy and listens to others and its people.

It is a friend and ally of the UK, US and many other countries. What is needed now is aid to get through safely and a pause in the fighting should be put on the table by Israel - something our government wants to see happen.

I hope it can be achieved in the next few days.  It is also right to look at arms embargoes as this already forms part of the international rules relating to conflict, can create pressure to change course and plays a part in negotiations.  

This conflict has dominated the headlines for most of these six months. 

It increases a belief that I hear a great deal these days that the world feels more dangerous at the moment.

I must agree and I continue to fight the corner for increased defence spending and support for our excellent armed forces. I remain hopeful that other international issues start getting the attention that Israel and Gaza receives.

Rohingya Muslims, Sudan, Yemen, Haiti, Myanmar and, of course, Ukraine have all come second since October last year. 

As local people have said in my surgeries, Ukraine remains of huge importance to Europe and we must not lose sight of what a Russian victory would mean.