COLUMN BY Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie 

THE scenes from Israel and Gaza over the last 12 days have been heart-breaking and I fear there is more to come.

Many people in Stroud, the Valleys and Vale have contacted me about what has happened following Hamas’ attack on Israel.

The massacre of innocent civilians, including children, and taking hostages with British citizens amongst the dead has shaken us all. The reports of up to 40 babies being massacred with stories of heads being cut off and children tortured made me feel physically sick.

It is difficult to truly imagine the pain and anxiety that Jewish families all over the world are experiencing now.

Israel is within its rights to defend itself against Hamas – a terrorist organisation that has vowed to eliminate the Jewish state.

Hamas knew the reaction it would get and no doubt planned for the airstrikes and a possible invasion of Gaza too.

We would expect nothing less of a response if such acts of brutality had happened here.

Number 10 and the Houses of Parliament have been lit up in the colours of the flag of Israel in recent days.

My heart goes out to all those civilians caught up in the airstrikes and the humanitarian crisis that is unfolding in Gaza.

Those who say I do not care about Palestinian children and civilians clearly do not know me or have not been following my work here for years.

The contempt and anger should be focused on Hamas who are now also using civilians as human shields and have reportedly stopped some people leaving Gaza when Israel confirmed there was time for innocent people to get away.

The government is working internationally to establish how to get aid into Gaza to help innocent civilians.

Sadly, this conflict is leading to fear at home in the UK too.

We have seen protests on the streets and people in London stating boldly that they support the actions of Hamas.

As a result, there are now Jewish schools in London that have closed due to the threats to security.

I know the Israeli government is not without fault - something many Israelis feel too – but to ferment hate against Jewish people when they were attacked is wrong.