Choice tough but necessary

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Sunday’s First World War Commemoration service in Northumberland Square was deeply moving.

But alongside news images of centenary events have been harrowing pictures of more recent conflicts across the Middle East. As David Cameron’s hero Harold Macmillan warned, governments fortunes are determined by “Events, dear boy, events!”

During World War One the Balfour Declaration set up a Jewish state, eventually displacing the Palestinians in the process. Gaza is the most recent chapter in that tragedy.

As David Miliband said, Hamas rockets cannot bring victory any more than Israeli shelling can bring security.

Israel’s secret weapon is time; delaying a settlement or a ceasefire until Israeli firepower prevails.

But that will not ensure a lasting peace, worse for Israel, 24-hour media means their actions are played out in the court of international opinion.

The West should intervene, particularly the United States, pressing Israel to acknowledge that their tactics to date have been counterproductive.

Our government also needs to act because we have influence in the region.

It means taking sides; standing up for those who promote democracy, individual rights and economic development. And it means standing with moderate Muslim allies in the region against militant Islam. A tough but necessary choice.