OPEN LETTER TO: The Minister for External Affairs and International Development, Humza Yousaf
We the undersigned, many of us supporters of Scottish independence, are very concerned and disappointed by Scottish Minister of External Affairs Humza Yousaf’s statement (May 13th) that the Scottish Government opposes the call from Palestine for boycott, divestment and sanctions against the State of Israel to compel it to recognise Palestinian human rights under international law. We deplore the abandonment of the position stated by First Minister Alex Salmond (25.3.2010) "You can’t have normal relationships if you believe another country has been involved in what Israel has been involved in".
Since then, Israel’s ethnic cleansing efforts have accelerated, from Jerusalem to the Negev. A Ministerial statement that the Scottish Government’s “position on the Middle East doesn't vary much from the UK government” dangerously implicates all Scots in the UK Government’s serial aggressive wars and its military, political and economic alliance with the ethnic cleansing regime in Tel Aviv.
The UK Government refuses to comply with the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Israel’s illegal wall; sells drone parts to Israel to enforce its illegal occupation through targeted assassination; refused to support Palestine’s successful application to upgrade its diplomatic status at the UN or even to be admitted to UNESCO. The UK Government supports Tony Blair as “peace envoy” to the Middle East. The invasion and devastation of Iraq, and the UK’s endorsement via Tony Blair for the Egyptian junta, make more dangerous the Scottish Government taking a “position on the Middle East [that] doesn’t vary much from the UK government”. The UK government's policy in the Midle East continues to raise considrable concern about issues of fairness and justice; we feel that the Scottish Government needs to make it clear it stands with justice and human rights, reflecting the real feeling of the people of Scotland.
Humanitarian aid can never compensate for complicity in, or even silence in the face of, atrocious crimes against a people being violently occupied and dispossessed. In fact, it can often be a cover for such complicity or silence.
We call on the Scottish Government to make a clear and unambiguous statement condemning Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the people of Palestine, calling for the dismantling of the apartheid wall in line with the ICJ decision, and reaffirming FM Alex Salmond’s 2010 call for an end to business as usual with the State of Israel while it commits serious war crimes and, in the words of the UN Goldstone Commission, possible crimes against humanity.
Angus MacLean, Chair, Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign; B. Oudeh, Chair, Palestinians in Scotland; Asid Khan, Chair, Friends of Al Aqsa - Glasgow, and many others
Originally published with a full list of signatures by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign