We have all been shocked by the terrible news of the attack by Hamas on Israel. This is a brutal atrocity that has already claimed hundreds of lives. Civilians, including children and the elderly have been indiscriminately attacked, taken hostage and murdered. More than 250 people were killed attending a music festival in the desert in southern Israel. These casualties have been a result of both rocket attacks and the direct assault on land by armed soldiers of Hamas. This is an act of war by an Iran backed terror organisation, and we must do all we can to support the government of Israel and its people.
In 2009 I visited the town of Sderot in Israel, which is close to the border with Gaza, as part of a programme organised by the Conservative Friends of Israel. At the police station we saw examples of the missiles that were routinely fired at the town by Hamas terrorists, and in the public places, including near playgrounds for children, we were shown the shelters that had been constructed for people to take cover when the warning sirens went off. At a school in the town we met teachers who were working with their students whilst understanding the risks they all faced whilst going about their daily lives. I was particularly shocked to read how this community was targeted by Hamas, including the occupation of that police station, and reports of how gunmen went house to house in search of victims.
The government of Israel, as any nation would, now has to respond in order to protect its people from these brutal attacks. Hamas has shown that it is intent on war which means that Israel must fight to secure peace. As a consequence of the actions of Hamas, more innocent people will lose their lives. The proxy war that Iran has fought in the middle east against Israel though organisations that it funds and supplies, like Hamas, must come to an end. This will only be possible with the defeat of these networks of terror.
The grief of the loss of a loved one has also come to my family these past days. On Sunday night, 1 October, my mother Diane Collins, passed away following a long battle with cancer. She bore her struggle bravely and with good cheer over her last months and was able to celebrate with the family in September, both her birthday and fifty-third wedding anniversary to my father Fearghal. A good friend whose father died a few years ago, told me that the loss of a parent leaves a void that no words can fill. I now know how true that is, but we must cherish the memories we have of a life well lived in the knowledge of what she meant to us all. Like so many people with cancer, my mother received excellent support, particularly from the nursing team at the care home where she spent her final weeks. However, we all wish that the time will come when everyone with cancer can be successfully treated throughout their life. For this reason, we’ve asked that no flowers be sent, but instead that if people who would like to, could make a donation to Cancer Research UK, they can do so in her memory online by visiting the following page - fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/page/diane-collins
Published: Tuesday 10th October 2023