MSPs back First Minister’s call to prevent further loss of innocent lives.
MSPs have voted in favour of an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages held by Hamas, following a debate in the Scottish Parliament.
Opening the debate, First Minister Humza Yousaf said the chamber was unified in resolute condemnation of Hamas’ abhorrent terrorist attacks and the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Gaza.
This followed a letter sent by the First Minister to the Prime Minister and Sir Keir Starmer this morning, calling for the UK to officially recognise the State of Palestine in order to break the political impasse that has condemned Israelis and Palestinians to successive cycles of violence.
The First Minister said:
“In Scotland, the Muslim and Jewish communities have enjoyed decades of friendship, decades of shared humanity and faith. Nowhere is that more evident than in East Renfrewshire, home of Scotland’s largest Jewish community, and a significant Muslim population too, who have lived side-by-side in harmony for many years.
“But we cannot be complacent. We must all be proactive in rooting out any hint of Islamophobia or antisemitism wherever it occurs. Presiding Officer, even though it feels impossible to look past the current horrors of war, we must ensure that this perpetual cycle of violence that we see occur far too often finally ends, once and for all, in a peaceful resolution.
“To that end, there must be a renewed, and serious international effort towards a two-state solution. Israeli and Palestinian states that can co-exist in safety, security and with equal rights for each of its citizens.
“Unfortunately, the world has not kept its promise to the Palestinian people. They have not been given a free sovereign state, along the 1967 borders, as they were promised. Quite the opposite. The continued expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank is not only illegal but works against a peaceful resolution. So it is simply not enough anymore to pay lip-service to a two-state solution, we must take steps to turn that into a reality.
“To that end, I have written to the Prime Minister, and to Sir Keir Starmer, and urged them to immediately take steps to ensure the UK recognises the State of Palestine. It is only with full recognition of Palestine, as a State in its own right, that we can truly move forward towards a two-state solution.
“To conclude, Presiding Officer, to prevent further deaths, the bombs, the rockets – they must stop. The Scottish Government continues to call for an immediate ceasefire, for the safe release of all hostages, for an end to the killing of innocent civilians in Gaza, for an end to the siege of Gaza, and for all parties to abide by international law.
“The UK government and the international community must use their influence to prevent the further loss of innocent life. Every child the world over deserves to grow old. The children of Gaza and Israel deserve nothing less. It is our moral obligation to act. Let us hope even in these, the darkest of times, that humanity prevails.”
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