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Alyn Smith MP on Events in Middle East

Published:

Categories: Foreign Affairs

The actions of Hamas are despicable, utterly unjustified, and will make peace harder to achieve. My fear is that those who will suffer most in the coming days and months will be those least able to cope or escape. My colleagues and I condemn Hamas’ brutal terror attacks of murder, hostage-taking and rape in the strongest possible terms. The footage emanating from Israel is beyond comprehension and constitutes terrorism in its most abhorrent form, for which there can be no justification.

Israel has the right to defend herself from terror, but with the possibility of a ground offensive in Gaza very real, the SNP stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people who are now facing collective punishment, without conflating that with support for Hamas or the atrocities they have committed. No child and family should ever endure this kind of violence, barbarity and fear, and this violence will not solve the ongoing oppression and occupation in the region.

A complete and utter humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding in Gaza – the Gaza strip is under constant bombardment, with no food, no water and no power. The First Minister has made clear his view that Israel is going too far with its planned approach and has expressed his anger at the failure of the UK Government to use its position as an ally of Israel to call for an end to collective punishment. The First Minister has also called for an immediate ceasefire in the region to allow for the creation of humanitarian corridors.

I have written to the Foreign Secretary urging that the Government seeks to de-escalate the situation, protect civilians on all sides, and ensure that international humanitarian law is abided by. I have put my name to the motion that calls for a ceasefire in the region. It also called for the Government to use its influence to help protect civilians, to ensure adherence to international humanitarian law and to guarantee civilians have access to critical life-saving humanitarian support.  I fully support my colleague and SNP leader at Westminster Stephen Flynn recently repeating my Party’s call for a ceasefire at Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons.

The Scottish Government have pledged a £500,000 aid package to assist the UN set up a humanitarian corridor. The focus of the UK Government and the international community should be on ensuring the immediate delivery of that aid to Gazans on the ground who are waiting for food, water, medical supplies and energy. In his recent speech at SNP Party Conference, First Minister Humza Yousaf also called on the UK government to create a refugee resettlement scheme for people wanting to leave Palestine amid the Israel-Gaza conflict. 

The focus for the international community should be preventing the further loss of civilian life on both sides through promotion of international law. I condemn all violence and call on all sides to de-escalate the violence and to protect civilians. I will continue to add my voice and do what I can to achieve this aim. This is obviously a fast moving and fluid situation and I will keep updating my website on developments as they happen.

Letter to Foreign Secretary