Scottish Parliament debates support for Palestinian independence

A symbol of hope -  a new palm plantation in Gaza

A symbol of hope – a new palm plantation in Gaza

Last week the Scottish Parliament debated a two state solution for the Israeli Palestinian conflict.

I extend my thanks to Sandra White MSP for bringing this important debate to the Chamber, and was grateful for the opportunity to speak in support of this motion.

Following my trip to Gaza in 2002, I have felt strongly about the plight of the Palestinians. The level of destruction I witnessed there was shocking, but equally striking was the resilience and spirit of the people.

However, the recent accession of Palestine to membership of the International Criminal Court will be sure to facilitate the protection of Palestinian rights against war crimes.

I was recently contacted by the Palestinian Farmers’ Union, an NGO that empowers and protects the rights of Palestinian farmers. Palestine’s new ICC membership may assist with the seizure of Palestinian farmers’ land in West Bank and Gaza. They explained how the ICC might help their membership.

The blockade has left people of Gaza without the means to run any enterprise. The limited movement extends beyond people to include their goods, meaning trade is virtually suffocated and people cannot be self-reliant. There is a huge discrepancy in land allocation between Israeli and Palestinian farmers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem area. The Palestinian Farmers’ Union hopes that the ICC will expose and deliver justice to those dispossessed of their land.

Many of my fellow MSPs spoke in the debate for the recognition of Palestine. There were many different angles to the debate, and it was encouraging to hear my colleagues speak out so passionately. You can read the whole debate here.

Supporting this motion, and calling for international recognition of the Palestinian State, would send a powerful message to the government of Israel from Scotland. That a two state solution is the only solution.

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