For a Ceasefire in Gaza

This motion from the First Minister Humza Yousaf is to be put before the Scottish Parliament today:

It would seem to be fair, even-handed and – urgent. It would seem to be something that all parties could get behind and send a strong message of solidarity from the Scottish Parliament on behalf of the people of Scotland.


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  1. Alan C says:

    Unfortunately the English branch offices won’t be allowed to ‘get behind it’

  2. Tam Dean Burn says:

    It’s ludicrous to be talking about being fair and even handed at such a genocidal juncture Mike. All the vitriol is heaped onto Palestinian resistance alone. I can of course understand the desire and call for a ceasefire now but it looks like that’s going to be overtaken by events anyway and then what? It’s not our job to make things comfortable for politicians but to demand what’s needed- like the ending of the siege of Gaza now too.

    The motion needs to be demanding an independent investigation into the events of 7 October, as the truth and lies about that are emerging. There needs to be the call for an investigation by the International Criminal Court into the catastrophic catalogue of war crimes committed by the Israeli state and their allies since then.

    There’s absolutely no chance of a two state solution so that’s a long gone chimera preventing progress.. Only a secular democratic state from the river to the sea offers any hope of a lasting and just peace.

    But an unequivocal call for ceasefire now by MSPs today and an overwhelming vote for that will offer some small succour to the poor, besieged people of Gaza.

    1. Hi Tam – agreed that a two state solution seems a distant prospect, what do you mean by a secular democratic state, how would that work?

      Hoping for an unequivocal call for a ceasefire from the Scottish Parliament today.

      1. Tam Dean Burn says:

        John Wood hits that nail right on the head here. Well said all round John. I imagine it will need another across countries Arab Spring demanding equal rights for Palestinians and winning some sections of the Israeli working class to that cause. Given what we’ve seen in recent years this is clearly not as much a pipe dream as expecting Zionism to go against its only clearly untenable reason for existence. There are two principles to bear in mind here as everywhere- always take sides with the oppressed against their oppressor, recognising the fundamental difference between their uses of violence and that this is a class struggle just like elsewhere and can only be solved by the working class in the Middle East with solidarity from the world’s working class taking action against their own rulers support for the oppressor state. I’ve been drawn into performing John Maclean’s speech from the dock ( next doing the full speech for Rutherglen SSP Maclean commemoration this Saturday) and he highlights the British state involvement in Palestine and above all issues a call to the working class in Scotland and the world to take sides in the only war worth fighting- the class war to defeat “capitalism dripping with blood from head to foot”. As we see right now there’s a straight choice- socialism or barbarism.

        1. I see the Scottish Government has called for:

          – an immediate ceasefire
          – Israel to be referred to the International Criminal Court
          – recognition of a State of Palestine

  3. Lordmac says:

    Looks like this is all Hamas fault. Some want to be king of the castle,then divide and then conquer.

  4. John Wood says:

    I was OK with this until I got to the demand for a (fake, apartheid) ‘two state solution’. Why do they feel the need to demand this? There will never be peace until there is a single state in which those of all religions or ethnic identities can live equally and freely with mutual respect. That means that in Israel / Palestine (whatever you call it, it’s one country), citizenship must be equally available whatever their ethnicity. Even within the Jewish community however, some are privileged over others. There is neither liberty, equality, not fraternity in Israel. The utter horror that has been meted out to non-Jews and also some Jews themselves in the cause of Zionism is beyond outrage.

    There seems to be a an excessive wish to appease the Zionists by demonising and condemning Hamas, even here. Hamas is not a ‘terrorist’ organisation but the democratically elected government of Gaza. Does destroying Hamas then assume that anyone who voted for them is ‘fair game’? Palestinians as every bit as entitled to act in self defence as the racist Israeli state. But as I said, why are Gazans not offered Israeli citizenship?

    The attack of 7 October, and the supposed death told (for which we only have Israel’s word) has been made much of. It appears that there may be at least some grounds to believe that many of the deaths on that occasion were caused not by Hamas by the Israeli army itself. The lies about supposed atrocities such as beheading babies have already been exposed. The taking of hostages was an attempt to bargain for the release of hundreds, if not thousands of Palestinians held in ‘administrative detention’ in Israel. They are hostages too but we hear no condemnation of that. Or of the settler violence in the West Bank, or the ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem.

    But however you see the events of 7 October, nothing at all can justify the continuing genocide of the ‘Palestinian’ people. Who are ‘Palestinians’? They are simply people of different religions, Christian, Muslim, and also Jewish, who do not accept the imposition of a racist, apartheid Zionist state, or repeated ethnic cleansing to make way for colonisers. Zionism and Judaism are two very different things. It is offensive and ludicrous to accuse Jewish people who oppose Zionism of ‘anti-semitism’. Palestinians are a ‘semitic’ people too. It is not a racial term unless you (or the Nazis, or the Zionists) make it so.

    The genocide going on just now is just the continuation of a policy started long ago, but in purely practical terms it is utterly counter-productive if the aim of Israel’s creation was really to provide a safe haven for Jews. In fact it seems designed to destroy their safety by associating all Jewish people with this horror. Just as the demonisation of all Muslims as ‘terrorists’ creates hatred in that direction.

    Who could possibly not want the killing and destruction to stop? Only those who are only too happy to sit back and watch while people destroy each other. Or those politicians and media people who have been recruited as ‘Friends of Israel’. I remember trying to raise past Israeli atrocities with Charles Kennedy when he was ‘my’ MP : never an answer at all. I remember the BBC’s refusal to carry a charity appeal for Gaza years ago. It needs calling out.

    So while it is good to see that the SNP at least demand a ceasefire – unlike the Conservatives, Labour or Liberal Democrats – a more robust, less appeasing response is needed. And we need some serious proposals for a just, fair, post-Zionist Israel / Palestine that will actually end the violence. South Africa ended apartheid. Let’s learn from that.

    1. Peter Breingan says:

      Thank John for penning exactly what I was trying to.
      The constant harping on about the two-state solution is futile and myopic.
      It demonstrates how the west cannot accept that the creation of the state of Israel was a tragic error.
      Unless they admit this catastrophic mistake 75 years ago zero progress will be made – and the situation will deteriorate further, if that is imaginable.
      The single democratic, multi-ethnic state is the only option – however hard it will be to forge.

    2. John Learmonth says:

      Hamas was indeed democratically elected thanks to the help of the ‘zionists’
      Unfortunately as soon as they got elected they then proceeded to murder all their political opponents and so there’s been no free elections in Gaza since unlike in the ‘colonialist/apartheid’ state of Israel which is the only secular democratic country in the entire region.
      I fail to understand why so many on the so called ‘progressive left’ choose to side with religious fundamentalists who, given the chance, would kill every left winger on the planet but condemn Israel? Could it possibly down to the fact that many Israelis are Jews and many on the left have always had a ‘problem’ with Jewish people despite the fact that if it wasn’t for Jewish intellectuals the ‘left’ wouldn’t exist.

      1. Peter Breingan says:

        A democratic state by definition would not support apartheid.
        Most Zionists are atheist and don’t practice Judaism, or like many of the younger Israelis have been brainwashed.
        Some God forbid are Evangelists like so many in the US.
        Palestinians lived side by side with the real Jews before 1948 and still do in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
        The real Jews are amongst the strongest Israeli supporters for a free Palestine.

        1. John Learmonth says:

          But not an ‘apartheid state’.
          18% of the population are Arabs with full civil rights. There is not a single democratic Arab country, why do you think this is the case, could it possibly be down to their religion?
          Who are these ‘real Jews’ your talking about. Are there ‘unreal Jews’?

          1. John Wood says:

            John Learmonth, I disagree: Israel is an ‘apartheid state’. The 18% of the population who are ‘Arabs’ are a token minority group, who are very definitely second class citizens, where a Zionist majority is artificially maintained. Arabs and Jews are in any case merely labels given to groups of people to divide them. One refers to a religion (Judaism); the other refers to a linguistic group (Arab). They are actually all people, as human and as animal as each other. And both are technically ‘semitic’. Both terms are too readily used as terms of abuse.

            There is not a single democratic Arab country, why do I think this is the case? It is most certainly not down to Islam. There are many Christian and some Jewish ‘Arabs’. And the lack of democracy in Egypt or Syria is simply because the UK, US and Israel have made damn sure it is never allowed to start, because the people might choose a government they dislike. As we saw in Gaza, and of course in Egypt.

            The Israeli government seem to regard some Jews as more equal than others. s you’d soon discover if you were a black Ethiopian Jew, or a Palestinian ‘Arab’ Jew.

            Your comments are Islamophobic. Actually Islamic extremism as practiced in Saudi Arabia is even less representative of Islam than certain extreme right wing American evangelicals are of Christianity. And Islamic extremism has been actively encouraged by the west. Saudi Arabia is a British creation.

      2. John Wood says:

        Let’s just get this straight. Israel is not a democratic or secular country at all. It is in fact the exact opposite: a country set up through terrorism and violence on racist and sectarian lines by the expulsion of the existing inhabitants. The so-called two state solution is a deception, a fraudulent attempt to justify Zionism. A genuinely democratic, secular country would give all Gazans and West Bank inhabitants votes in Israeli elections. It would not murder them with impunity, drive them out of their homes and property, imprison them in Gaza, subject them to horrific acts of settler violence and then start this apparent ‘Final Solution’. The behaviour of the Israeli government even towards its own people is utterly horrific. It appears now that at least some of the 1200 deaths attributed to Hamas on 7 October were in fact caused by the IDF.

        Apartheid South Africa at least didn’t set out to commit genocide.

        It’s high time for the Israeli government, and its supporters and funders in the UK and US, to hauled before the ICC and locked up.

        1. John Learmonth says:

          ‘Peace will only come to the region when the Arabs start to love their children more than they hate us’. Golda Meir 1973.

      3. John Wood says:

        Let’s just get this straight. Israel is not a democratic or secular country at all. It is in fact the exact opposite: a country set up through terrorism and violence on racist and sectarian lines by the expulsion of the existing inhabitants. The so-called two state solution is a deception, a fraudulent attempt to justify Zionism. A genuinely democratic, secular country would give all Gazans and West Bank inhabitants votes in Israeli elections. It would not murder them with impunity, drive them out of their homes and property, imprison them in Gaza, subject them to horrific acts of settler violence and then start this apparent ‘Final Solution’. The behaviour of the Israeli government even towards its own people is utterly horrific. It appears now that at least some of the 1200 deaths attributed to Hamas on 7 October were in fact caused by the IDF.

        Apartheid South Africa at least didn’t set out to commit genocide.

        It’s high time for the Israeli government, and its supporters and funders in the UK and US, to be hauled before the ICC and locked up.

  5. John says:

    Russia invaded Ukraine with a clear intention to takeover whole country. The USA and West have maintained a clear policy that Ukraine should restrict its activities to defensive actions on Ukrainian soil (which I do not disagree with).
    Hamas had a murderous excursion into Israel then retreated back into Palestine yet USA and allies have stated that Israel are justified in invading Palestine, clearing civilians from large areas of country and killing women and children in self defence (both Russia & Hamas have taken captives). This is just one example of many of the double standards being applied by USA, UK and other western governments to Israel and Palestinians. If these double standards are clear to many in west how this must appear to other countries who are not aligned to the West?
    The long term implications for influence of USA and allied nations and implementation of international law are clear from the aftermath of invasion of Iraq in 2003.

    1. Peter Breingan says:

      John, I do not agree that Russia intended to take the whole of the Ukraine.
      There is no evidence to support your statement – the history of the war supports my opinion.

      1. John says:

        Peter – I was primarily using this as an example of double standards being applied by USA, UK & other countries.
        The issue about whether Russia intended to invade the whole of Ukraine is debatable (note how initially the were close to Kiev) but as this is a discussion about the indefensible killing of civilians in Palestine it is not pertinent to this article or comments on it.

        1. Peter Breingan says:

          John – just wanted to state my opinion on Russia’s aim – because you made a statement I disagreed with. As you say this piece is about Israel/Palestine (not just Gaza), and I largely agree about the west’s double standards on show.
          The propaganda (mostly Israeli) surrounding this conflict (not a war) is monumental. This has been enabled and spread by digital social
          media – and has become a major weapon of ‘war’ for Israel in particular. Very Orwellian.

  6. SteveH says:

    In fairness to Humza his wife’s family are partially Palestinian from Gaza, so he has skin in the game.

    However, could we also view his strong views re the ceasefire as a political opportunity for virtue signalling to the Scottish electorate?

    Does he really think that leaving Hamas in tact will make for future peace?

    Also, what possible impact does the words of the first minister of Scotland have on any international opinion?

    Forgive me for asking, but is this not just cynical mainstream party politicking? After all his performance has been less than impressive.

    1. John Wood says:

      In fairness to you SteveH, I don’t think much of your British nationalist views. Humza’s wife’s family are partially Palestinian from Gaza which surely gives him the right to have views on this. It is simply offensive however to smear his views re the ceasefire as a political opportunity for virtue signalling to the Scottish electorate? Views you describe as ‘strong’ but I see as not strong enough. On the contrary the views expressed by the Conservative and Labour parties are quite honestly completely outrageous.

      Do you seriously think that destroying Hamas can possibly make for future peace? Do the Palestinians have no right to defend themselves?

      Actually I think the the words of the first minister of Scotland, being unafraid to speak out against the prevailing fascism and from personal experience, are the only words by any Western leader worth hearing at all. I think their honesty and credibility might might indeed have an impact on international opinion – apart of course from the utterly criminal, hypocritical and quite frankly fascist opinions of the leaders of the UK. I do not think they were ‘virtue signalling’ at all. People who use that term just demonstrate to me a serious lack of any ethics..

      You are forgiven for asking; forgive me for replying that your comment seems to me to epitomise ‘cynical mainstream party politicking’. His performance in other areas is not relevant at all.

  7. John says:

    Israel has the most powerful military machine of any country in Middle East by a considerable distance.
    Israel’s existence is guaranteed by the USA the most militarily powerful nation on planet. Can you imagine the USA standing by and doing nothing if Arab nations invaded Israel and acted in a manner similar to IDF in Palestine.
    Israel is therefore not facing a fight for its existence it is responding to a murderous terrorist attack. Hamas may call for ending state of Israel but have no capacity to do this. Israel’s response to the murder of 1200 of it’s people (900 civilians) & taking 250 hostages is killing 13,000 (10 fold) including 5500 women & children and displacing over 1,000,000 million people – effectively taking them as hostages. If you know innocent civilians are in a hospital and camp and bomb it because there may also be some Hamas personnel present as well you are knowingly murdering the innocent civilians no matter how you dress it up. This cannot be considered justified self defence but bloody revenge.
    The majority of people in most western countries appreciate this and want an immediate ceasefire (according to all available polling) to minimise further unnecessary deaths. The majority, while being opposed to Hamas attacks, do not agree with their government’s craven support for Israel’s behaviour in Palestine and this is what is causing the outrage.
    Well done to Humza Yousaf and Holyrood for at least giving a voice to how majority in this country view this crisis.

  8. SleepingDog says:

    The compromises forced on South Africa in its post-Apartheid settlement by the neoliberal powers have led to it being one of the most unequal countries today. It may yet be swept up in the reparations movement gaining momentum in the Caribbean and across Africa. A single secular state will still have to address the land-dispossession question in Israel-Palestine to avoid replicating such injustices. As a theocratic empire and creator of some of the least democratic states in the world, the British (including Scottish) are especially unfit to lecture on solutions to problems largely of their own making. The USA, perhaps on its way to theocratic rule itself, likewise.

    The United Nations has jurisdiction and a dedicated team working on war crimes and crimes against humanity in the territory, but Israel have been blocking access.
    It is unclear why the Scottish statement fails to call for this investigative body to be given unhindered access to do its UN-mandated work.

    1. John Wood says:

      Sleeping dog, I don’t think it’s ‘unclear’ why the statement doesn’t mention the UN. It was simply about the need to stop the slaughter in Gaza.
      Times change and the era of colonialism is ending; those chiefly responsible are unable to prevent this. .

      I think it is a mistake to include all Scots as parties to ‘British’ crimes. Scotland was and is a colony. Throughout all Empires there are those who support and do the work of oppression, and those who do not. People from across the Empire were recruited into its armies and enterprises. In fact I think the descendants of ‘Cleared’ Highlanders, including those actually shackled, thrown into ships and sold into slavery, might be among those seeking restitution. Maybe it’s time to invite our own diaspora back to rebuild Scotland after hundreds of years of colonisation and exploitation? At least the only people it would displace here would be the capitalists who seized our land from us – and still do.

      As for Palestine, of course the Palestinians need to be compensated for the horrific terrorism, dispossession and genocide they have suffered over many decades. If the colonisers wish to stay there, it must be on the basis of mutual respect and justice seen to be done. Let the Americans, who have been willing enough to pay for the crimes, now pay up.

      1. SleepingDog says:

        @John Wood, that is not a fair summary of the motion text, which goes far beyond calling for an immediate ceasefire to affirming support for the “two-state solution”.

        Arthur Balfour was a Scottish peer. I think my comment about state-level pronouncements was clear enough. I don’t accuse ordinary Scots of cowriting the Balfour Declaration. Although a great many ordinary Scots participated in the manifold crimes of Empire too, don’t forget, not least the infamously bloody Scottish regiments overseas, Scottish mass participation in slavery, and Scottish participation in widespread colonial religious–educational abuse.

        How many imperial criminals have the British legal system tried and convicted? Or is it rather the case that these criminals (including royals) are routinely honoured and lauded by the British imperial state? Until we have set our own house in order, British attempts at righting the wrongs of other nations ring hollow. Of course there was a spectrum of dissent, and I’ve been reading about this recently (Bernard Porter and Priyamvada Gopal among others). But the British electorate has always returned pro-imperial governments, rejecting the occasional anti-imperial Labour leaderships, for example.

        I agree that very substantial restitutions are due to Palestinians, and certainly the USA should be held to account, even if it is technically bankrupt. I assume the population growth rates of both Israeli and Palestinian areas are partly due to a kind of arms race, and the overall population growth rate of a secular successor state should stabilise towards international norms. Otherwise I doubt that state would be viable, even with equitable land restitution.

  9. Wul says:

    Never really understood why a government signalling virtue is meant to be a bad thing?

    Is it better to signal hate, intolerance, xenophobia, inhumanity, fascism? Confused.

    1. John says:

      A ceasefire (temporary) was announced a few hours after Holyrood voted for one.
      How will media condemn Holyrood for virtue signalling now?

    2. John Wood says:

      Good comment Wul. The idea of ‘virtue signalling’ belongs to an ideology that goes back at least to the 18th c. , with Bernard Mandeville’s Fable of the Bees. In fact I think Mandeville might have invented the term. It is a way of pouring scorn on ethics by asserting that altruism doesn’t exist, and everything is said and done for cynical reasons. J M Keynes picked up Mandeville’s ideas – as he famously said,
      “For at least another hundred years we must pretend to ourselves and to everyone that fair is foul and foul is fair; for foul is useful and fair is not. Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still.” (Essays in Persuasion 1931).

      But of course anyone who actually believes this is a ‘conspiracy theorist’!

    3. SleepingDog says:

      @Wul, when it’s done hypocritically:
      In Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, Duke Vincentio tests his apparently-upright deputy Lord Angelo by giving him delegated powers, seeking answer to the question:
      “If power change purpose, what our seemers be.”
      Of course, the play is also about the difficultly of nuanced messaging in what is effectively a monarchy. Whereas the difficulty of producing a statement from the Scottish Government is to make it sound like one voice yet pander to different viewpoints. Can government escape this need for fictional consensus? Justices at least might produce minority reports.

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