I have been approached by many constituents who are deeply concerned about ongoing and deteriorating situation in Israel and Gaza. I have been asked my views on the matter.

The horror and brutality of the murder and hostage taking of innocent Israelis has no justification or defence. It has been clearly and widely condemned. I have no hesitation in being clear that I share such unqualified condemnation. My heart goes out to all those that have lost loved ones, as well as those who have loved ones currently being held hostage. Hostages should be released without hesitation.

Israel has a right to defend itself. However, it must do so within the context of abiding by international law. Many of the actions of the Israeli military, under the direction of its political leadership, have the clear characteristics of waging a collective punishment on innocent Palestinians who reside in Gaza. Such actions are absolutely unacceptable and must stop immediately. Denying food, water, medicine and other essentials - including fuel - entering Gaza; is wholly unacceptable.

Bombings being directed at Gaza by the Israeli military are clearly killing many innocent Palestinians. This must stop also.

There must be an immediate ceasefire and there must be clear humanitarian corridors established to allow aid into Gaza and those trapped in Gaza out of the country. The limited and insufficient aid to Gaza over recent days is wholly inadequate. Foreign nationals must be allowed to leave Gaza. There is also the need to build an international approach to supporting the Palestinian refugees who will undoubtedly now be seeking to flee Gaza.

Here in Scotland I have been pleased to see a strong inter-faith approach to showing solidarity with all those who have lost loved ones in both Israel and Gaza.

Irrespective of whether they are Israeli or Palestinian; irrespective of whether they are Jewish, Muslim, of other faith or none. As our First Minister Humza Yousaf made clear today, there is no hierarchy placed on the value of life in such circumstances.

I thought that the emergency resolution passed at SNP Conference on 15 October would be of interest;

www.bob-doris.scot/news/413

as well as the First Minister’s statement to the Scottish Parliament on 24 October;

https://www.parliament.scot/chamber-and-committees/official-report/search-what-was-said-in-parliament/recent-publication?meeting=15494&iob=132204

That statement is clear and unambiguous and I associate myself with it in its entirety. Our First Minster Humza Yousaf has also been making clear representations to the UK Government for the UK to use its influence to help secure the urgent measures we must see to address the unfolding catastrophe in Gaza.

I am also conscious that there are many Scots who have friends and relatives in both Israel and Palestine. Some will have lost loved ones and all will be worried about the safety of all those friends and relatives.

Finally my thanks to everyone who has taken the time to contact me on this hugely important matter.

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