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Gaza - World leaders must try to stop the bloodshed

Letter published in The Herald

We are writing to express our disgust, condemnation and concern at the attacks carried out by Israel on the Gaza Strip, killing more than 300 people - including women and children. There is little doubt that the number of civilian deaths will rise in the next few days and weeks as Israel shows no signs of stopping its offensive on the people of Gaza.

The situation is bleak, with hospitals running out of medical supplies as the Israeli blockade continues to suffocate the people of Gaza. The region's power and infrastructure networks are on the verge of collapse with over 85% of Gazans depending on UN food aid - which is at critically low levels.

We call on the UK and Scottish governments to do all they can to pressure the Israeli government to halt attacks on the Gazan people who are being collectively punished for the actions of a minority. While we believe that Israel has the right to defend itself and its civilians from rocket attacks, it cannot be allowed collectively to punish, maim and kill innocent Palestinian civilians in the process.

In the past 48 hours we have heard from the Israeli Defence Minister, Ehud Barak, that the attacks will not be short and will become increasingly intense. We believe a strong statement of condemnation of Israel's actions must be forthcoming from world leaders and political institutions before the attacks escalate and further air attacks are intensified and ground troops sent to the region.

We urge world leaders to do all they can to halt the killing of innocent lives and to send a strong message of condemnation to the Israeli's for their current attacks.

Pauline McNeill MSP, Glasgow Kelvin, Convener, Cross-party Group on Palestine; Sandra White MSP, Glasgow; Mohammad Sarwar MP, Glasgow Central; Jamie Hepburn MSP, Central Scotland, Cross-party Group on Human Rights and Civil Liberties; Osama Saeed, Chief Executive, Glasgow, Scottish-Islamic Foundation; Bashir Ahmad MSP; Jim Devine MP, Livingston; Michael Connarty MP, Linlithgow and Falkirk East; Katy Clark MP, North Ayrshire and Arran; Jim Sheridan MP, Paisley and Renfrewshire North; Russell Brown MP, Dumfries and Galloway; Bill Kidd MSP, Glasgow; Angus Robertson MP, Moray, Westminster SNP Leader; Mike Weir MP, Angus; Christina McKelvie MSP, Central Scotland; Joe Fitzpatrick MSP, Dundee West; Jim McGovern MP, Dundee West; Alyn Smith MEP, Scotland; Anas Sarwar, Labour PPC; Trevor Cope and John McHugo, Liberal Democrats Friends of Palestine; Baroness Jenny Tonge, House of Lords Lib-Dem Councillor; Councillor Jonathan Bloch, London Borough of Haringey; Barry Levine, Jews for a Just Peace; Sgt Amar Shakoor, Scotland, Strathclyde Police Muslim Association; Glasgow Central Mosque; Lebanese Community in Scotland; Nicola Fisher, Glasgow Stop the War Coalition; Aamer Anwar, Scottish Human Rights Lawyer; Mick Napier, Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign Campaign; Glasgow Palestine Human Rights; Scottish Friends of Palestine; Dave Watson, Unison; Association of Indian Organisations; Scottish Afghan Society; Rev Ian Galloway, Convener Church and Society Council, Church of Scotland; Rev Donald Reid, Committee for Relations with People of Other Faiths, Scottish Episcopal Church, 5 Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow.