EVERY human life is of equal value. That is something we should all agree on but it’s sadly typically one of the first principles to be discarded in war.

That has sadly proven to be the case time and time again in how the world reacts to the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the 75 years of conflict it has caused.

Every death of every civilian should outrage us all, whether it was the young people savagely murdered by Hamas fighters at a music festival, the families killed in their homes by those same terrorists, the Palestinians of the West Bank being shot dead on their own streets by extremist Israeli settlers or the innocent people of Gaza now being killed by the thousands by Israel’s bombing campaign.

It is much easier for these atrocities to be committed when those responsible see their victims as inferior or undeserving of basic rights.

The horrors inflicted on civilians in Israel were brutal acts of terrorism. For those kidnapped by Hamas, and for their families, that terror sadly continues. Every hour they are held is another outrageous violation of international law and of human decency.

And Israel’s collective punishment of the people of Gaza, the withholding of water, food and power and the indiscriminate bombing by Israel is not only a catastrophe, it is a war crime.

READ MORE: Gaza under 'complete siege' as Israel brands Hamas 'animals'

Gaza, whose population includes many forced to flee from previous rounds of ethnic cleansing committed by Israel, has already endured a 17-year siege. Now, Israel wants to cut it off from the world completely.

Half of Gaza’s population are children. The vast majority of them have no memory of life before the siege and nine in 10 had the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder even before this latest wave of destruction.

Their further suffering will not make any Israeli safer. Israel’s government knows the devastating consequences of its crimes.

Vulnerable Palestinian families following Israel’s demands to flee northern Gaza have been murdered on the road south by Israeli airstrikes. Hundreds of children are already dead.

No government which claims to care at all about human rights and international law should support Israel’s brutal bombing campaign.

The Israeli government has made clear that it sees Palestinians as something less than human. Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu made this clear in a now-deleted Tweet: “This is a struggle between the children of light and the children of darkness, between humanity and the law of the jungle.”

Experts at the Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention have said that this dehumanising language, repeated by other Israeli politicians and military officials, is a sign of genocidal intent.

There is an overwhelming moral responsibility on all governments to not only call for restraint, but to actively work for an urgent and lasting ceasefire and to break this cycle of violence.

That particularly applies to those like the UK who have a history of arming, supporting and providing political cover for successive Israeli governments.

That means compelling Israel to end the siege of Gaza and its illegal occupation of Palestinian territories. In the immediate term, Israel must be forced to allow humanitarian corridors for medical aid and the evacuation of civilians, who must also have their right of return guaranteed.

Rather than calling for any of these vital steps, the UK Government has given its backing to the bombing and the blockade.

The Labour leadership has been no better. Time and again they have refused to condemn any of Israel’s actions or to apply any kind of pressure, with Keir Starmer going as far as stating that Israel has the right to withhold water and electricity from Palestinian civilians. As a former human rights lawyer he knows that is a war crime.

Both Labour and the Tories have gone to painful lengths to legitimise and defend the siege and its consequences, while ignoring growing international calls for a ceasefire.

When asked if he supported the forced displacement of people from North Gaza (another war crime under the Geneva Convention), Labour’s shadow foreign secretary, David Lammy, tied himself in knots before saying it was “not a yes or no answer”.

This grotesque disregard is perhaps no surprise considering the role that successive UK governments have played in propping up human rights- abusing regimes around the world.

In contrast, Scotland’s First Minister, Humza Yousaf has demonstrated real moral leadership.

He has taken the lead where Downing Street has failed and has shown a huge amount of personal strength despite the awful situation being faced by his own family in Gaza.

Many people across our country are anxious and hurting right now, particularly those who have lost loved ones or who have friends and family whose lives are at risk.

There have been reported upsurges in antisemitism and Islamophobia across the UK, with incidents of abuse in the streets and schools having been targeted and desecrated. Our Jewish and Muslim communities need our solidarity and compassion right now. And they need all of us to confront bigotry wherever we see it.

Human rights cannot be treated as negotiable, and we cannot be selective about who they apply to.

A just and lasting peace cannot be secured through war crimes and atrocities.

There is no military solution. It can only come from the freeing of all hostages by both sides, from an end to Israel’s siege and occupation of Palestine and a shared and equal respect for every life and for international law.

If you can, please donate to Medical Aid for Palestinians and support their emergency appeal today at www.map.org.uk/donate