THERE has been a horrific loss of innocent lives in both Israel and Gaza over the last two weeks. This is a terrible situation but Israel is totally justified in its response to those shocking attacks on its people.

I want it to keep civilian casualties to a minimum but Hamas is perfectly happy to use Gaza citizens as a human shield – making Israel’s perfectly legitimate military operation more difficult.

Much has happened and been said since terrorists – and that’s exactly what they are - went into Israel to massacre innocent civilians and take many hostages.

We should not forget that UK nationals were killed in these Hamas attacks. If Hamas had a single ounce of humanity, it would release all the hostages immediately but I doubt it will.

We should be under no illusion that Hamas is a terrorist organisation and I am dismayed the BBC will not call it such. They are using people as human shields. Palestinian people in Gaza are suffering terribly now because of Hamas, with the casualty numbers climbing constantly.

These terrorists murder Israeli children, then run and hide behind Palestinian children and I think that tells you all you need to know. I also deplore the pro-Hamas stance of some in the UK. Israel is a democracy. Its government would never sanction the deliberate killing of innocent civilians and taking hostages. That’s a huge and obvious difference.

The Prime Minister has been to Israel and given the UK’s support. He reiterated that support in a statement to parliament this week. But it will be difficult to defeat Hamas and ensure there is not a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

However, I was very pleased to see that aid agencies are now delivering food, water and medicine that are so urgently required to those blameless Palestinians caught up in this needless war.

The UK has committed £20 million of extra support to help Palestinian civilians in Gaza. I hope this aid is allowed to continue and the restoring of the water supplies to Gaza. All sides should commit to the sanctity of UN installations, hospitals, and shelters.

I fear this will be a protracted conflict. I certainly stand in support of Israel.

Many congratulations to the Stourbridge Navigation Trust for its brilliant and 37th Open Weekend.

I really enjoyed popping along the canal and visiting local trade, craft and food stalls, looking at some of the boats and generally having a good time.

Keeping our canal heritage alive is very important in the West Midlands and having the Bonded Warehouse there as a community hub is special too. It’s a beautiful part of our town and one we should be proud of.