UK must not tell Israel how to rescue hostages 'raped by Hamas', says Tory MP

Jewish MP Andrew Percy says he fells safer in Israel than Britain during impassioned speech in House of Commons

Andrew Percy MP. (Parliament)
Andrew Percy MP said felt safer in Israel than in the UK. (Parliament)

A Conservative MP has criticised his colleagues claiming it's not their business to tell Israel how to rescue hostages from being "raped by Hamas" and saying he no longer feels safe in the UK.

Andrew Percy, who is Jewish, was speaking during a debate amid the fallout from Wednesday's chaotic scenes in the Commons sparked by the speaker's handling of the SNP's motion for a ceasefire in Gaza. Percy said he had just got back from Israel and that, despite the attacks by Hamas, he "felt safer in Israel than I do in this country at this moment in time".

The MP for Brigg and Goole went on to criticise his colleagues' stance on the war saying: "Nobody in this House has any business, agency at all, in telling the state of Israel where it is able to operate to seek to rescue hostages who are being raped by Islamic terrorists who hold them."

There was a pro-Palestine protest outside the Commons on during Wednesday's debate. (PA)
There was a pro-Palestine protest outside the Commons during Wednesday's debate. (PA)

During his speech in the Commons, Percy condemned protests by some pro-Palestinian protesters, saying: "For months I’ve been standing up here talking about the people on our streets demanding death to Jews, demanding Jihad, demanding intifadas as the police stand by and allow that to happen!"

He went on to criticise the controversial slogan 'From the river to the sea, Palestine to be free' being projected on to the Palace of Westminster during Wednesday's debate. Critics of the phrase say it is antisemitic - others insist it is used as a call for freedom for Palestinians.

Percy received praise from other politicians and Jewish groups. Jake Wallis Simons, editor of the Jewish Chronicle, said his speech "hits the nail on the head" while Conservative peer Baroness Foster praised Percy's speech saying he was "spot on".

She added on X: "Many of us have been called for a halt to these anti-Israel, antisemitic hate protests for nearly 4 months. .. and have been totally ignored [by the Met Police and Mayor of London]. This is what appeasement looks like .. It’s an absolute disgrace and needs to stop now."

Percy's reference to sexual violence stems from evidence that Hamas has committed sexual crimes against Israeli hostages. In January, Aviva Siegel and her daughter Shir, who were among the hostage released during the temporary ceasefire, said women and men were being raped while in captivity.

Speaking to Israeli lawmakers, Aviva said: "The terrorists bring inappropriate clothes for the girls, the clothes of dolls. They turned the girls into their dolls, that they can do whatever they want with. And it’s unbelievable that they’re still there." She added: "I want to tell you that the boys go through these things too. They can’t get pregnant, but they also go through it. And something must change now."

According to the Times of Israel, on Wednesday the Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel submitted a report to the UN accusing Hamas of sexual violence during the 7 October atrocity and subsequently against hostages still being held by the group in Gaza.

In December the UN envoy for sexual violence, Pramila Patten, said she had grave concerns for the hostages and called for their release.

Antisemitism and Islamophobia on the rise in the UK

Jewish advisory body Community Security Trust (CST) said earlier in February that 2023 was the worst year for antisemitism in the UK since they began monitoring such data. The number of antisemitic incidents across the country reached 4,103, more than twice the figure in 2022, with two-thirds of the incidents happening after the 7 October attacks.

The CST recorded 266 cases of violent assaults last year, another all-time high, with half occurring in areas with significant Jewish communities, including north London and Manchester. In response to a rise in antisemitism, the government offered an extra £3m to CST, which advises Jews on security matters in the UK, last year.

There has also been a 335% increase in anti-Muslim hate since the outbreak of war in Israel and Gaza, according to Tell Mama, a national project which logs and measures anti-Muslim incidents in the UK. The group recorded 2,010 cases of online and offline abuse in the four months since the 7 October attack, a stark contrast to the 600 cases recorded between 7 October 2022 and 7 February 2023.

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