The reports from Gaza and Israel in recent days have been harrowing. The US is seeking a ceasefire by both sides. This is proving difficult to agree and enforce, given the very different views of the crisis taken by the combatants. The UN too, with UK support, would like to achieve a ceasefire. There are many offers of help to broker a peace, but it will require changes of stance by both sides to end the violence and get around the table to discuss the deep rooted problems of the area.
I receive emails from supporters of the Palestinians and from supporters of Israel urging the UK to do more to create conditions for a peaceful settlement. I understand the strong feelings the current bloodshed is generating, but it is difficult to see what more the UK can do to bring about change. The advice I receive of course differs depending on which side the person writing supports. There are limits to what foreign policy can do. People on the ground have to want to change the way things happen. The UK is stepping up its humanitarian aid in the meantime.