Will the Israel-Hamas war escalate conflicts in the UK?

On a visit to a Jewish school in north London this morning, the prime minister reiterated the government’s unwavering support for the Jewish community.

But with a backdrop of a rise in antisemitic incidents and images emerging of demonstrators wearing a picture of a paraglider (akin to those who killed festival goers in Israel), concerns about tensions escalating here in the UK won’t be calmed easily. 

Asked if he was worried the conflict in the Middle East was driving division here at home, Mr Sunak explained that antisemitism would be met with the full force of the law.

He said the police were reviewing footage of scenes he described as unacceptable and they would make further arrests as and where they could. 

Following a roundtable last week with police chiefs and the Home Secretary Suella Braverman, the prime minister wants to be seen to be tough on crime. 

Especially at a time when the country’s prisons are full and prisoners are potentially being let out early or spared jail time to make room for those who have committed more serious crimes. 

But interestingly, not all the British public appear, for now, to be seeing eye to eye with the PM when it comes to where their sympathies lie. 

According to recent polling from YouGov, 21% said they supported Israel whereas 15% supported the Palestinian side. 

However, what is most striking is that 45% said they didn’t know which side their sympathies lay with, demonstrating the lack of clear-cut public support in either direction. 

Mr Sunak insisted Hamas was responsible for all the suffering we are witnessing in Israel and Gaza, and when asked if he would urge Israel to show restraint in its retaliation he did not. 

“Nobody wants to see regional escalation”, he continued. 

Something to keep an eye on will be the tone with which MPs speak about the conflict as they debate the issue in parliament today and whether we see a shift on either side of the House. 

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