Scottish Government involvement with Israel and Palestine: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

  1. Has the Scottish Parliament ever discussed the never-ending conflict in Israel/Palestine?
  2. If so, what was the nature of the discussion, and what decisions were taken, or motions adopted?
  3. Has any Scottish town/city a 'twinning' arrangement with any town/city in Israel or Palestine? And if so, which towns/cities are involved?
  4. What is the Scottish Government's position regarding the illegal occupation of Palestinian land by Israeli settlers which has been repeatedly condemned by the United Nations since the 1967 war?
  5. Has the Scottish Government ever considered giving safe refuge to Palestinian refugees in the same way they have in relation to the on-going conflict in Ukraine, and if not, why not?


The Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked at Qs 1 - 3, because the Scottish Government is not responsible for the subject. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested in Qs 1-3, however, for Qs 1 & 2 you may wish to contact The Scottish Parliament at Scottish Parliament | Scottish Parliament Website and for Q3 - COSLA at COSLA | COSLA who may be able to help you.

Q4. The Scottish Government continues to be very concerned about the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

The Scottish Government supports the EU two-state position, based on the 1967 borders, and firmly encourage both Israel and Palestine to reach a sustainable, negotiated settlement under international law, which has its foundations in mutual recognition and the determination to co-exist peacefully. It strongly encourages the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority to work with the international community to secure credible long-term peace and end the cycle of violence which continues to affect both Palestinians and Israelis.

The Scottish Government supports all credible and inclusive international diplomatic efforts to achieve peace in the region, and in our view, peace depends on there being two secure, stable and prosperous states of Israel and Palestine, living side by side and believes that any unilateral annexation of parts of the West Bank by Israel would be damaging to efforts to restart peace negotiations and contrary to international law hoping that the parties return to negotiations.

The Scottish Government condemns all acts of violence and will continue to engage with both sides in the conflict to urge them to take the necessary steps towards a peaceful, two state solution. The Scottish Government agrees with others in the international community that Israeli settlements are illegal under international law; making it harder for a peaceful two state solution to be reached.

Q5. The Scottish Government has considered supporting refugees resettled to the UK from Palestine. This does not equate to a direct equivalent to support provided to people displaced from Ukraine because the support that can be provided to refugees, people seeking asylum and displaced persons can vary depending on the status they are granted by the UK Government and any associated conditions applied under UK immigration legislation and rules. As you may be aware, under current constitutional arrangements in the UK asylum and immigration are reserved to the UK Parliament and are handled by the Home Office. The Scottish Government cannot grant visas to enable people to travel to the UK to seek asylum, resettle as refugees or be supported as displaced persons (as has happened in relation to people arriving on visas granted by the UK Government due to the war in Ukraine). The UK Government is responsible for decisions relating to the design and operation of refugee resettlement schemes and visa programmes which could provide people with safe passage and permission to enter and remain in the UK. The UK Government is also responsible for decisions relating to the design and operation of the UK asylum system. Scotland’s approach to supporting all refugees and people seeking asylum living here is set out in the New Scots refugee integration strategy.

About FOI

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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