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05/08/14 15:12

Call for UK Government arms embargo to Israel

Minister for External Affairs says more action needed.

Minister for External Affairs Humza Yousaf has called on the UK Government to introduce an immediate suspension of the sale of arms to Israel.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, Mr Yousaf pointed to comments from the United Nations (UN) stating that it is possible that international law has been breached. He said it was imperative that an investigation is conducted into whether UK arms have been used in any violations of international law during the conflict, and that sales must be suspended and an immediate investigation conducted into UK arms sales to Israel.

The Minister also re-iterated the Scottish Government’s condemnation of the violence in Gaza and called for an immediate end to hostilities. He also highlighted the contribution of half a million pounds to help people in Gaza and the commitment of the Scottish Government to treat casualties requiring specialist care as a result of the conflict in Scottish hospitals.

Mr Yousaf said:

“The Scottish Government condemns in the strongest possible terms the escalating cycle of violence in Gaza and calls for a permanent ceasefire. We condemn rocket attacks from Gaza and condemn in the strongest possible manner the heavily disproportionate response from the Israeli Government as demonstrated by the mounting death toll in Gaza.

“We are appalled that the death toll now stands at over 1,800 including over 300 children. We are pleased to note the ceasefire announced last night and the withdrawal of Israeli troops reported this morning and call for meaningful peace talks, leading to a lasting ceasefire, to start as soon as possible.

“I have already announced £500,000 in humanitarian aid, in addition to the UK contribution, to help people affected by the crisis in Gaza. The Scottish Government has also offered to treat casualties requiring specialist care as a result of the conflict in Scottish hospitals.

“Since the conflict started Scottish Ministers have written to the Prime Minister, Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary to ask that the UK takes action to make meaningful progress towards a lasting peace and that it plays its part in international refugee resettlement programmes – in which the Scottish Government stands ready to play its part.

“The Scottish Government has demonstrated that we cannot stand idly by while innocent civilians are being killed. I am today, on behalf of the Scottish Government, calling for an immediate suspension of arms sales to Israel.

“The UN has said that there is a strong possibility that international law has been violated and UN Secretary General described the recent shelling of a UN school in Rafah sheltering displaced people as a criminal act. It is imperative that there is an investigation into whether or not UK arms have been used in any violation of international law. Until that has been confirmed the UK Government should implement a complete suspension of arms sales to Israel.”