DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Rishi's most delicate diplomatic mission

DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Rishi’s most delicate diplomatic mission

In its short, turbulent history, Israel has endured many dark and perilous moments.

Three times – in 1948, 1967 and 1973 – its hostile Arab neighbours banded together in an attempt to wipe the Jewish state off the map.

Despite its foes having vastly superior numbers, Israeli forces drove them back.

The Hamas attack on October 7, however, was something new. There was no military objective, no battlefield, no front line.

It was just an orgy of indiscriminate violence. Hamas’s aim was to murder, rape, torture and abduct as many Jews as it could. Given the chance, it will do so again.

It is in this context that Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes that notwithstanding all the dark hours of the past, this is the darkest.

Until the terrorist group – whose goal is to annihilate the Jews – is extinguished, his country’s people will never be safe.

At a time of such existential threat, Israel needs to know it can rely on its friends.

Rishi Sunak (L) meets with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Israel, on October 19

A soldier fixes an Israeli flag atop the turret of a Merkava battle tank on October 11, 2023

Giving that reassurance was one of the key objectives of Rishi Sunak’s whistle-stop tour of the Middle East.

After talks with Mr Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, he was right to pledge Britain’s full support in the fight against the ‘pure evil’ of Hamas.

Placing an arm around Israel’s shoulders at this time of crisis has allowed Mr Sunak to make clear that any ground invasion of Gaza to root out the terrorists must abide by international law.

It was also good to see him press for more humanitarian relief for beleaguered Palestinian citizens in the enclave – but mechanisms must be in place to ensure aid isn’t intercepted by the jihadis.

Last night, Mr Sunak was in Saudi Arabia before visiting other Arab capitals. While seeking support to rescue Hamas’s British hostages, he also wants to talk peace.

What was already a diplomatic mission of extreme delicacy has been made even tougher by the explosion at Gaza’s al-Ahli Hospital, which is said to have killed many.

Compelling evidence suggests that the outrage was caused by a faulty rocket launched by Palestinian terrorists.

That much of the Arab world is convinced it was a retaliatory Israeli air strike owes a lot to the BBC recklessly pointing the finger at Tel Aviv in the aftermath.

As a result, the Gulf states may be inclined to reject Mr Sunak’s pleas for cool heads.

However, only their sworn enemy, Iran – which sponsors Hamas – will benefit if the war spills into the wider region. The fallout would soon be felt on our shores.

Maintaining peace and stability is in everyone else’s best interests.

Criminalising caution

It is worrying that Mr Sunak is pressing on with a total ban on conversion therapy.

Critics fear this could criminalise parents, teachers and GPs who advise children to exercise caution before changing gender.

That a Tory government should want to make it easier for often vulnerable youngsters to opt for life-altering drugs and surgery they may later regret is dispiriting.

At his party conference, the PM received an ovation for stating the biological reality: ‘A man is a man and a woman is a woman.’

With this Bill in the pipeline, this paper must ask: Does he actually believe that – or was he just saying it to get a easy cheer?

Soft on shoplifting

Can anybody truly be surprised that cases of shoplifting have surged by a shocking 25 per cent in a year?

Police seem hell-bent on finding excuses not to arrest those who steal from the shelves. And even if, by some miracle, an offender is prosecuted, they invariably escape with a pathetic punishment.

The public want persistent pilferers tackled – not for the police to take it upon themselves to effectively grant immunity to a whole criminal class.

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