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Campaign and petition email responses | End Violence Against Palestinians in the West Bank

Campaign and petition email responses

End Violence Against Palestinians in the West Bank

Thank you for contacting me on such an urgent and serious issue.

I am extremely concerned that the situation on the ground in Israel-Palestine is continuing to deteriorate. In an already volatile region, any increase in violence and tension can lead to a full-scale escalation in the conflict. Diplomatic steps must be taken to ensure that this does not happen.

Events over the past few weeks have been deeply disturbing.

I remain very concerned by last month's raid by the Israeli military in Jenin, the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs). The Palestinian death toll currently sits at 10 individuals (including a 60-year-old woman), and around 20 people were injured. The Israeli military must account - and apologise - for loss of life and injuries inflicted upon Palestinian civilians during this raid. You can read SNP Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Drew Hendry MP's statement on the raid here.

Additionally, the Israeli Government's decision to authorised nine new settlements in the West Bank (which were previously unauthorised outposts) is a direct and egregious violation of international law, which must be universally condemned by the international community.

I also condemn in the strongest possible terms the two deadly shooting attacks in Jerusalem carried out by Palestinian citizens last month. Seven Israelis were murdered as a Palestinian gunman opened fire at a Synagogue in East Jerusalem. Two people were also injured the following day in a separate attack outside the Old City by a 13-year-old Palestinian. These instances of targeted violence are appalling, and must be unequivocally condemned.

Heartbreakingly, the violence did not stop there. In February, two Israelis - a six-year-old boy and 20-year-old man - were murdered in a car ramming attack at a bus stop in East Jerusalem.

These senseless acts of violence and displacement must stop. If they continue, I fear the worst - that the conflict may once again enter a critical phase of danger and escalation.

I condemn extremist ideology and violence carried out by any party to the conflict - Palestinian or Israeli. For the sake of innocent people on both sides, spikes in violence must stop before a sustainable peace is possible.

As the Occupying Power, the Israeli military has an international legal obligation to protect the Palestinian population under its control. For many years, however, we have seen the IDF's flagrant disregard for this responsibility.

A swift end to this violence and a fair, mutually recognised two-state solution has rarely been more urgent. Respect for international law, human rights, and due process must prevail.

On the wider issue of the Israel-Palestine conflict, let me be clear on this: the SNP support a two-state solution based upon the 1967 borders. We support the recognition of the State of Palestine. For a two-state solution to be realistic, this is a prerequisite. In the same breath, we reaffirm our support for the right of the State of Israel to exist and prosper.

However, as a Party, we believe that our commitment to tolerance, dignity, and respect for all populations does not deter our ability to call out egregious human rights violations when we see them.

The SNP are taking these violations incredibly seriously. We have tabled Written Parliamentary Questions (e.g. see here), demanded a stronger response from the UK Government in the House of Commons (e.g. see here, here, and here), and written letters to the Foreign Secretary.

Please rest assured that SNP MPs in Westminster will use every opportunity to make these calls to the Foreign Office - via e.g. Parliamentary Questions and letters. We will continue to raise these matters so that Palestinians are not brushed under the Conservative Government carpet, as has been the case for so many years (even decades).

Additionally, SNP MPs are monitoring the new Israeli Government closely. Netanyahu's new coalition is the most right-wing government that Israel has ever seen, and we fear that this could have devastating consequences for Palestinian communities in Israel and the OPT.

Most recently, we strongly condemn new Israeli Government Minister Ben-Gvir visiting the Temple Mount. We see this as a deliberate provocation in an already fraught setting. We call on all Israeli Government Ministers to desist from all inflammatory behaviour; behaviour which does nothing to help Israeli or Palestinian people, nor to reach an end to the conflict.

In short, please rest assured that my SNP colleagues and I at Westminster will do everything in our power to ensure a better outcome for Palestinians and Israelis, and to advocate for human rights, tolerance, peace, and respect for all.

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