By Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell


I have watched with horror and heartache the scenes from Israel and now Gaza. And it’s not some distant conflict, it’s reach is both global and local.
 
Yesterday, by chance, I met a man in Old Town, newly returned from a family wedding in that part of the world, who had been caught up in a missile attack.  What you see, he told me, is nothing compared to the reality on the ground.  His trauma was evident.
 
I have visited the region before.  I met with community groups, politicians, journalists, military personnel.  The issues are undeniably complex and have proved intractable but above all that I learned on that occasion, it was a conversation with a parent that comes most powerfully to my mind now.
 
Facing an existential threat to their very existence, generation after generation of Israeli parents have seen their children, age 18, undertake national service.
 
They serve between 2-3 years.  This duty discharged, they may be called up for reserve duty until the age of 40.
 
I can only imagine that parent right now.
 
It is a high price to pay.
 
Nurseries in Israel have bomb shelters but nothing prepared them – or the world – for the slaughter of innocents these last days and the ongoing agony of knowing their people are held hostage.   
 
In the words of its PM, Israel is now at war and forces are mobilising.  Palestinian civilians are equally victims of terror group Hamas who care nothing for them and whose murderous rampage has already cost them dear.
 
This last week, I have engaged with our Foreign Secretary and Home Secretary on security for our people in the region and here at home. I have been in contact with our local police.