The horrors of the war in Gaza and the wider conflict in the Middle East continue to occupy our TV screens – and spark fierce debate amongst our readers. 

On Wednesday, one of our correspondents posed the question: when is defence attack? Surely the US/UK bombing of Yemen must have been premeditated? 

Read more: The people must push for peace, we can't leave it to our leaders

Yesterday a reader turned the spotlight back on to the Gaza conflict, insisting that Israel’s offensive was justified by Hamas’s October 7 attack. 

That view is firmly rejected in a letter today. 

Andy Stenton of Glasgow writes: 

"Dr Gerald Edwards (Letters, January 18) is putting what I view as simple prejudices on show. 

"Yes, Hamas's attack on October 7 was horrendous, but Israel's response has been completely disproportionate, with many analysts now describing the killing of more than 25,000 people, including women, children, academics and journalists, as 'genocidal'. 

"Dr Edwards believes Hamas's aim is to completely destroy Israel. I would argue there's no hard evidence of that, though the UN's top court recently heard of Israel's plan to 'destroy' Gaza that came from 'the highest level of state'. 

"In my view Hamas's ultimate intention is to end Israel's 66 year-long occupation of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem and give Palestinians their freedom. 

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"Since 1967 Israel has controlled their lives, jailing many, including children, for years without charge.

"It has redrawn the boundaries originally created by Britain after the Second World War, bulldozed homes and allowed illegal Jewish settlements to be built in their place. 

"Farmers are denied access to their olive fields or seen them destroyed. Fishermen are restricted as to where they can fish. Israeli patrol boats along the Gaza coast see to that.

"Workers spend hours at Israeli checkpoints trying to reach their place of employment. Palestinians have been under attack by Israel for generations. How do they defend themselves? 

"Dare I suggest if you are in a country being occupied by an aggressive force attack is the only form of defence?"