Scottish Prime Minister Humza Yousaf has stressed the importance of urging the UK government to revise its policies and acknowledge Palestine’s independent statehood. Scotland’s stance on the Gaza conflict and its alignment with the Palestinians will be explored, alongside the reasons behind Yousaf’s frustration with Rishi Sunak’s stance on Israel’s actions in Gaza. Additionally, the article will explore why Scots have recently shown solidarity with the Palestinian cause during the conflict.
Request to recognise the independent state of Palestine
Scotland’s stance on the Gaza conflict has been unequivocal. The First Minister of Scotland highlighted that a two-state resolution remains inconsequential until an independent Palestinian state receives recognition. Speaking exclusively to Al Jazeera about the ongoing Gaza conflict, Humza Yousaf underscored the significance of acknowledging Palestine’s sovereignty. He further anticipated a decisive vote in the Scottish Parliament, advocating for an immediate ceasefire. Yousaf also emphasized the underlying causes of the conflict, pointing out the broken promise of statehood for Palestinians despite earlier assurances.
Humza Yousaf’s letter to Rishi Sunak
Humza Yousaf penned a letter addressed to Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, urging the official recognition of Palestine by the UK government. Within the correspondence, he asserted, “While Israel, like any nation, has the right to safeguard its citizens from terrorism, no country, including Israel, should disregard international humanitarian law.” Yousaf continued, emphasising the government’s consistent advocacy for terminating the 16-year blockade and siege of Gaza.
In part of his letter sent to the UK government, Humza Yousaf wrote: “It is essential and urgent that the UK makes clear to the Israeli Government and the world that in line with support for a two-state solution, only Palestinians can have authority in Gaza.” Scotland’s stance on the Gaza conflict has been in support of the Palestinians, and Scots have often expressed disgust at Israel’s crimes.
Humza Yousaf’s support for the march of supporters of Palestine
Yousaf had previously voiced his endorsement for a significant pro-Palestine march in London, scheduled to coincide with the anniversary of the First World War armistice, and expressed strong disapproval of the UK government’s opposition to the event. During an interview, the Scottish First Minister underscored the need for a London demonstration to support Palestine, expressing deep frustration with Rishi Sunak’s government response to the planned march. While Sunak’s administration labelled the rally concerning and denounced it, Yousaf rebuked the British authorities’ characterisation of the event as promoting hate, deeming it unacceptable.
The parents of Yousaf’s Palestinian wife are trapped in Gaza.
The Palestinian wife of Humza Yousaf faced an ordeal when her parents were caught in Gaza during the Israeli siege, but they managed to escape the area recently. Concerned about the safety of her husband’s parents in Gaza, she reached out to Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer, the leader of the Labour Party, not long ago. The refusal to push for a Gaza ceasefire stemmed from witnessing Israel’s actions and alleged crimes against the region.
Approving the ceasefire resolution in the Scottish Parliament
The Scottish Parliament passed a resolution on the issue of asking for a ceasefire in Gaza and the release of Israeli prisoners. This resolution was approved by the favourable vote of 90 legislators against 28 votes against. Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf said during a debate in the Parliament criticising Israel’s attacks on the Gaza Strip: “No country, Israel included, has a right to ignore international humanitarian law. That is why this Government has repeatedly called for an end to the 16-year blockade and siege of Gaza.”
Scottish parties support the ceasefire in Gaza.
Anas Sarwar, the leader of the Scottish Labor Party, supported the ceasefire bill in Gaza and emphasised: “I’ve always argued for the cause of peace, a two-state solution with an end to occupation and end to siege and everyone be able to live with the peace and freedom they deserve.” The Conservative Party of Scotland was the only party in the country’s Parliament that did not support the ceasefire in Gaza like its counterpart.
Supporters of Palestine rally in front of the Scottish Parliament
At the same time as the Scottish Parliament voted on the ceasefire bill in Gaza, a group of protesters held a rally in support of Palestine outside the building of this Parliament. These protesters chanted slogans in support of Palestine, including “stop the killing”, “sanction of Israel” and “genocide in Gaza”. The protesters displayed a long list of the martyrs of Israel’s attacks in Gaza outside the Scottish Parliament building.
The UK government condoned the killing of Palestinians.
The UK government has declared its full support for Israel since the beginning of the Gaza war, ignoring the killing of Palestinians. Contrary to the call of the United Nations, the UK is against the establishment of a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and considers such a plan to benefit the Palestinian groups. Israel, under the support of the UK and US governments, continues its attacks against Gaza and emphasises that the end of the war is not on the agenda of this country’s army.
The active participation of the UK government in the Gaza genocide
The UK government is actively involved in the Gaza genocide. In fact, by supplying weapons to Israel, providing communication information and aerial surveillance, and participating in particular services, it can be said that the UK government’s involvement in Israel’s crimes is more than complicity. The UK government is complicit in the genocide in Gaza. This is embarrassing for many people in the UK but particularly unpleasant for many in Scotland.
Sympathy of the Scots with the Palestinian people
A November 2 YouGov poll shows a substantial majority of people in Scotland say their sympathies are with the Palestinian cause, while in both England and Wales, support for Israel is slightly higher than support for the Palestinians. Furthermore, the poll attempts to measure the strength of feeling, with Scottish support for Palestine being the most vital opinion in any constituent of the UK and on any question. Previous YouGov polls show the same result, with Scotland the only UK country where a majority supports the Palestinians.
The relationship between supporting Palestine and seeking independence
Scotland’s stance on the Gaza conflict has been unique in its way. Support for Palestinian independence shows the way to reinvigorate the independence movement. There is a very strong relationship between unionism and support for Israel and between support for independence and support for Palestine. For independence to be achieved in the short term, supporters must gather around one goal: Palestine.