This isn’t the way. If the desired destination is peace, this cannot be the way to get there.

In my view, it cannot be right to kill a child, while in pursuit of some other objective - however worthy that objective. Surely no-one would attempt to justify the killing of thirteen thousand children in pursuit of that objective.

And now they are dying, not only from the bombing, but from hunger. Children in Gaza are dying of starvation. And it’s happening now. While we watch. Seemingly powerless to stop it.

An estimated 32,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza in recent months. That figure is confirmed as credible by the World Health Organisation. Unicef, the United Nations children’s agency, estimates 13,000 of those killed are children.

The trouble with big numbers is that we can lose a sense of the tragedy of each individual killing. Every one of these deaths is somebody’s daughter, somebody’s son. That’s true for each of the 1,200 Israelis killed on October 7th, for each of the hostages and their families, and for each Palestinian killed in both Gaza and in the illegally occupied West Bank.

Surely, the goal is peace. Peace between Israel and Palestinians. That can only come from a fair political settlement based on an end to the occupation of Palestinian territories. Not a return to a never-ending ‘peace process’ that can be disrupted by extremists, but an urgent and vigorous international effort to bring about the creation of a Palestinian state, allowing Israel and Palestine to exist safely within their own borders.

But hold on a minute! Is this really any of our business, here in the Forest of Dean?

In Charles Dickens’s Christmas Carol, when Scrooge is asked for a contribution to charity. He says: “It’s not my business. It’s enough for a man to know his own business and not to interfere with other people’s. Mine occupies me constantly. Good afternoon gentlemen!”

It is our business, however far from the Forest of Dean. But certain things make it more directly relevant.

What’s needed urgently, as a first step, is an immediate ceasefire (of course agreed to by Hamas along with the release of hostages). At last, in recent days, the UK has decided to support calls at the UN for such a ceasefire.

Remember, the UK Government – of which our MP is a member -abstained in a ceasefire vote at the UN in December, shamefully missing an opportunity to potentially stop the killing.

While belatedly joining calls for an immediate ceasefire, the Government (that’s our Forest MP again) continues to allow arms sales to the combatants. Thus implicating the UK even more directly in the killing taking place in Gaza.

As for the district council, a proper implementation of our recently agreed ethical investment policy will ensure we don’t indirectly support this war. And that’s something we can do as individuals too; by making careful decisions about what we buy, where we bank, and how we invest our money.