Britain must do more to help promote peace in Gaza - Angus Robertson

The Open Arms vessel, carrying two-hundred tonnes of food aid to Gaza Strip, is seen docked in the Cypriot port of Larnaca on March 11The Open Arms vessel, carrying two-hundred tonnes of food aid to Gaza Strip, is seen docked in the Cypriot port of Larnaca on March 11
The Open Arms vessel, carrying two-hundred tonnes of food aid to Gaza Strip, is seen docked in the Cypriot port of Larnaca on March 11
​As the Muslim community in Scotland and across the world begin Ramadan, the world is conscious that the deadline for a ceasefire deal for Gaza, as was hoped by world leaders, has been missed.

​United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, is absolutely correct to offer ‘solidarity and support to all those suffering from the horrors in Gaza’, as the Holy Month begins.

The UN has said that famine in Gaza is ‘almost inevitable’. An estimated 300,000 Palestinians are living there with little food or clean water. Children are dying of starvation. It is a desperate situation.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The only and insufficient reprieve has come in the form of aid airdrops delivered by the United States, France, the UK and others.

But aid agencies and the Palestinian authorities say this is of little help. With deliveries by road cut by over 80 per cent of their pre-war frequency, and airdrops from a plane only able to deliver 10 per cent of a single truck, the need remains unmet.

Furthermore, airdrops tend to cause chaos on the ground as starving people rush desperately understandably to obtain what food they can.

A Spanish aid ship carrying 200 tonnes of food sourced by US charity World Central Kitchen (WCK), was supposed to have set sail from Cyprus by now, but remains docked, a two-day journey away from the coast of Gaza.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The international community must be given all opportunities to provide aid, both by sea and through land borders.

The World Food Programme (WFP) was forced to temporarily halt its deliveries to northern Gaza last month after its convoys were subjected to ‘complete chaos and violence’.

It is clear that orderly delivery and distribution are not able to happen without concerted effort by both Israelis and Palestinian authorities, and a ceasefire can precipitate that and end unnecessary starvation and deaths.

The UK must do more to pursue using its influence to precipitate a ceasefire. While the UK has delivered some air drops, the UK Government continues to allow arms to be sent to Israel from UK companies. This is totally self-defeating.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Should Sunak’s government be serious about wanting a ceasefire, they should do everything to stop the killing of innocent Palestinians and the release of Israeli hostages.

The public and most MSPs in Scotland remain committed to showing support for Gazans and their plight.

It is outrageous, however, to see Tory MSP Stephen Kerr make racially prejudicial inferences in the Telegraph newspaper about the First Minister and the Scottish Government’s commitment to the provision of aid to Gaza.

Kerr’s suggestion that Humza Yousaf’s decision to give money for aid delivered by an official United Nations organisation—a decision which I, as External Affairs Secretary, supported—was motivated by family ties to Palestine is despicable, as is Kerr’s refusal to apologise for his words when asked.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

If they are serious about stamping out Islamophobia in their party, Rishi Sunak and Douglas Ross should block him from standing in the upcoming general election and demand an apology.

Anything short of that is a copout and a capitulation to the Islamophobia we have seen from Tory MPs, one of whom, Lee Anderson, has defected to the Reform party – proof of how close the Tories are to the far right.

The people of Scotland have no time for this. In every Tory seat, the SNP are the closest contenders. Only voting SNP will help rid Scotland of Tory MPs.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.