SIR KEIR STARMER is coming under pressure from parts of his party over his tough pro-Israel stance. The United Nations chief Antonio Guterres is facing calls to quit because he was not tough enough in his condemnation of the Hamas terrorist attack.

The atmosphere in the Middle East is so taut that a single mis-spoken word becomes a diplomatic incident, and it is preventing rational debate.

Mr Starmer has to prove that his Labour Party is different to that of his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn, and so he is following the Conservatives’ line of unequivocal support for Israel. The Conservatives don’t want to a chink to appear in their toughness and so Rishi Sunak cannot bring himself to support the concept of a “ceasefire” – after all, in our mad world, it is Russia which is tabling a motion at the UN calling for a ceasefire while at the same time bombing Ukraine.

However, at Prime Ministers’ Questions, but Mr Sunak did concede that there should be “specific pauses as distinct from a ceasefire” to let humanitarian aid in.

This should now be our first concern: ensuring that medicine and water reaches those hundreds of thousands who are caught up in this horror show through no fault of their own.

This is in no way to condone Hamas’ attack, which was outrageous, atrocious and inhumanely barbaric, and in no context could be justified.

Politicians can call it a “specific pause” if that makes them think their language still sounds tough, but should be arguing to stop the explosions and cease the fire long enough for fuel to reach hospitals and basic supplies to reach those civilians who have been forced into camps.