Claudia Beamish MSP (Labour) introduced a members’ business debate on motion S5M-16637, “Towards an independent Palestinian state: a Scottish proposal”
calling for action leading to an independent Palestinian state and
acknowledging Britain’s historical responsibilities in what was to
become Israel and Palestine. Claudia argued that British engagement is
needed now to help secure a better future for both peoples. Scotland
could act as the conscience of the UK, working for true equality through
policies based on universal values and those international laws which
Britain drafted, signed and ratified after World War II. She highlighted
the work of the Balfour Project in raising British public awareness of
the history of Britain’s involvement in shaping the Middle East.
She commended the six measures in the Balfour Project Call to Action:
- an end to the closure of Gaza, imprisoning 2 million people
- freedom of worship for all – Jews, Christians and Muslims – in Jerusalem
- respect for the rule of law. Israeli settlements are illegal.
- accountability: consequences for criminal acts, whoever commits them
- British Government recognition of Palestine now alongside Israel and
- commitment to defend the rights of both peoples, including the right to free and legitimate movement of goods and people between Gaza and the West Bank.
Sandra White (SNP), John Finnie (Green) and Alex Cole-Hamilton (Lib Dem) each spoke in support. Alex Cole-Hamilton recalled the McMahon – Hussein correspondence of 1915, when Britain promised to the Sharif of Mecca support for an Arab state – including Palestine – in return for an Arab uprising against the Turks. The uprising happened… .
Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for External Affairs Fiona
Hyslop also clearly endorsed the six measures, revealing that she wrote
to the British Government last year encouraging it to recognise the
state of Palestine, and adding “but as we know, it has not yet done so”.
In the view of the Scottish Government:
“Accepting Palestine as a state in its own right alongside Israel should be the starting point of negotiations”.
The Minister commended the work of the Balfour Project “to educate us all about the underlying causes of the Israel-Palestine conflict”.