A portrait photo of Kate Hudson
Dr Kate Hudson
CND General Secretary
Kate Hudson has been General Secretary of CND since September 2010. Prior to this she served as the organisation's Chair from 2003. She is a leading anti-nuclear and anti-war campaigner nationally and internationally.

Two weeks ago, Israel launched an attack on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, with estimates for resulting deaths as high as sixteen people. This was a hugely provocative, illegal attack by Israel. As a result, Iran warned of reprisals and carried out a series of attacks on Israel by drone and cruise missile. Now the world is waiting to see what happens next. Will Israel launch another attack on Iran, unleashing further escalation towards a wider war in the Middle East?

But we cannot just stand aside, hoping that we’re not on the slippery slope to world war three. The reality is, this conflict has to stop. If Iran, and potentially Lebanon, were to be drawn into this war, the outcome would be disastrous. How many thousands more would be added to the terrible death toll in Gaza?

But let’s make no mistake. It is Gaza and the injustice meted out to the Palestinian people that is at the heart of this conflict. Heading off a widening conflict in the short term, will only be a temporary fix, if the just demands of the Palestinians, underpinned by international law, for their independence and statehood are not met. These issues are inextricably linked.

Just as a ceasefire, to end the killing and the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, is urgent, so too the need to prevent the war spreading is vital. Because the greatest catastrophe of all will come if Israel decides to use its nuclear weapons. And let us not forget that the question of using them has already been raised in some Israeli political circles.

Israel has a deadly arsenal of these weapons of mass destruction, that can kill hundreds of thousands of people, that can affect countless thousands more through radiation poisoning, causing cancers and birth defects.

Israel can launch its nuclear weapons from land, sea and air. And its arsenal is unregulated, subject to no international scrutiny or treaty constraints.

Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons has been under-reported in this conflict. Yet it is the only nuclear weapons state in the Middle East; it’s able to wield a devastating force, unavailable to any other regional power. So it can act with impunity, holding this terrible threat over the lives of everyone in the region.

It is timely to acknowledge the role that Britain played in creating this shockingly dangerous situation. Indeed, it was Britain that made it possible for Israel to develop the bomb. According to Whitehall documents, it was Britain that sold 20 tons of heavy water to Israel, without safeguards against military use.

We rightly object when our government refuses to end the trade in death that is killing tens of thousands of Palestinians. We condemn this shameful complicity in the crimes taking place in Gaza and urge an immediate change of policy.

And we should also condemn Britain’s role in the creation of an unrestrained nuclear-armed state in the Middle East, with the capacity to wreak ever further destruction on that troubled and tragic region. Our government must now work to undo the dangers it has helped bring into being.

We demand this: that Israel must be disarmed of its nuclear weapons, these weapons of terror and mass destruction, must be taken away and destroyed. That repeated UN resolutions calling for a nuclear weapons-free Middle East be fulfilled; alongside those resolutions calling for a free and sovereign Palestinian state. Because while Palestine is in chains and Israel has nuclear weapons, the Middle East cannot be free and at peace.