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The Zionist Federation welcomes yesterday’s announcement that Israel and Hamas have agreed to enter a ceasefire brokered by Egyptian mediators. This came into effect at 2am local time, and appears to be holding. Following eleven days of near constant rocket fire, this provides much needed respite for Israel’s embattled civilian population.

Closer to home, British Jewry has experienced an almost 500% rise in anti-Semitic incidents. Most recently, a driver with an Israeli flag attached to his car was attacked on Golders Green Road with one arrest subsequently being made. In a meeting with the Prime Minister and Home Secretary held on 20th May, communal leaders called for the proscription of Hamas in its entirety in the UK, not just its military wing (Hamas Izz al-Din al-Qassem Brigades).

Paul Charney, Chairman of the Zionist Federation said: “We are relieved that a ceasefire has at last brought some level of peace to Israel and Gaza. Every innocent life lost marks an immeasurable tragedy, be it Israeli or Palestinian. As British Jews, we hope and pray for a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, as well across the wider region.

We also remain committed to speaking out for Israel, and will continue to do so now and into the future. Our solidarity with Israel rally planned for Sunday is still going ahead, and I encourage all British Zionists to attend and support it.

There is no moral equivalence between a sovereign state defending its civilians, and the war crime and terrorist act that indiscriminate rocket fire into population centres is. While Israel seeks to protect its civilians and minimise collateral damage, Hamas cynically hides behind women, children, and journalists as human shields. It is disappointing to see international condemnation unfairly and disproportionately focus on Israel when Hamas continues to imbed its military infrastructure within the civilian population, and commit war crimes by almost exclusively firing on non-military Israeli targets.”