Not a backbone between UK party leaders - Christine Grahame

​Like everyone I’ve been getting on with day-to-day life: office, housework, clearing up the garden before waste collection stops and even trying to think ahead to Christmas.
Fighting continues to rage in northern GazaFighting continues to rage in northern Gaza
Fighting continues to rage in northern Gaza

It only works for a while because it’s impossible to escape the horrors unfolding in Gaza. I know friends who simply can’t watch it anymore but I feel duty bound to stay the course.

The indiscriminate atrocities inflicted by Hamas on innocent Israeli citizens cannot be defended in any shape or form, but the Israeli government’s actions over these last four weeks also cannot be defended.

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I cannot rationalise why a nation once so ruthlessly persecuted can through its government persecute a neighbour. A former president of the UK Supreme Court and seven other eminent lawyers have urged Israel to remember its obligations under international law, saying they had “significant concern” about aspects of its actions in Gaza.

The leading legal figures, including Lord David Neuberger, president of the UK’s highest court in 2012-17, and Philippe Sands KC, said they were speaking both as Jews and as lawyers. United Nations (UN) workers observed a minute’s silence recently to honour more than 100 employees killed in Gaza since the Israel-Hamas war began, the largest toll of humanitarian workers in the organisation’s 78-year history. In Israel Benjamín Netanyahu is under increasing pressure to secure the safe release of the remaining hostages, but internal criticism of his actions in Gaza is suppressed.

The complexities of the Israel Palestine history, the failure to resolve the two state solution, leaves Palestinians and Israelis at the mercy of constant conflict and breeds extremists on both sides.

The State of Palestine has been accepted as an observer state of the UN General Assembly since November 2012. As of July 2019, 138 of the 193 UN member states have recognised the State of Palestine (Israel is recognised by 165). The occupation of the Palestinian Westbank by Israel in 1967 has been designated illegal but Israelis have been encouraged to build settlements there displacing Palestinians and Israel controls whatever goes in and out of Gaza.

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That’s a very potted summary I accept. But now declaring war on Hamas not Palestine, it has deliberately displaced more than a million people in Gaza and has cut off food, water and energy supplies not only to almost the entire population but not even exempting hospitals trying to save the lives of the most vulnerable in any society: premature babies. Without their incubators they lie side by side wrapped only in swaddling clothes, too soon to be their tiny shrouds. Bodies lie in hospital grounds unburied. The civilian death toll is in the many thousands.

The atrocities of Hamas, the captive hostages, neither justifies such ruthless, indeed criminal actions by the Israeli government. Yet neither Rishi Sunak nor Sir Keir Starmer call for an immediate ceasefire for the exchange of the hostages and humanitarian aid despite the SNP and many international calls for this. Why? Do they both need an authorising text from Joe Biden first? Israel relies on US support, even endorsement, but we should not. When I look at these two men, one in power the other desperate to be, my heart sinks. Not a backbone between them.

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