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Scottish Government statement on Gaza

Parliamentary Question on Israeli Settlements and Recent Violence in Middle East- Scottish Parliament 15th November 2012

Sandra White MSP:

The Minister will be aware of recent developments by the Israeli Government to construct 1285 houses in East Jerusalem and the West Bank a move condemned by Foreign office Minister Alastair Burt as Illegal under International Law and Yesterday the killing of Palestinians in Gaza by Israeli air strikes reminisce of Operation Cast Lead, which saw over a thousand Gazans killed. Can I ask the Minister if he agrees with me that these actions are against humanity and International Law and what role the SG can play in alleviating the suffering of the Palestinian people?

Humza Yousaf MSP, Minister for External Affairs and International Development:

The member raises two important points. Firstly, on the issue of settlements, I absolutely agree with the UK Government and others in the international community that the expansion of Israeli settlements is, as the member states, illegal under international law.

The Scottish Government strongly condemns such actions and believes it to be contrary to the goal of achieving peace in the region– we call on Israel to immediately halt any expansion of such settlements as a matter of priority.

On her second point, the killing of innocent civilians, be they Israeli or Palestinian, is to be utterly condemned and we urge all sides to exercise restraint.

The Scottish Government has previously stated - and I wish to reiterate - that it is wrong to collectively punish the people of Gaza for the actions of their Government.

The situation in Gaza continues to be a humanitarian crisis and we join with voices in the international community and call for the illegal blockade to be lifted.

The Scottish Government supports the view that long-term peace in the Middle East between Israel and Palestine is best served by a two state solution and we urge all parties to engage constructively, proportionally and most importantly within the obligations imposed upon them by international law, to find a peaceful way forward.