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News / Motion on Israel

Indepdent Highlands and Islands MSP Jean Urquhart.

INDEPENDENT Highlands and Islands list MSP Jean Urquhart has called on David Cameron to pursue sanctions against Israel as its attack on Gaza enters its third week.

Over 500 Palestinians have been killed in the assault. According to the United Nations, most of the dead are civilians and more than one in five are children.

Urquhart has put forward a Scottish Parliament motion asking public bodies to disinvest from corporations operating in Israel and occupied Palestine. So far seven other MSPs have supported the motion, including members from every party except the Conservatives, she said.

“When we see the horrifying reports and pictures, it is easy to feel powerless,” she said. “But we’re not powerless, and we’re not blameless.

“Without the ‘staunch support’ offered by Western leaders like David Cameron, the brutal occupation of Palestine could not happen. We all have a responsibility to stop our governments supporting oppression in our name.”

Urquhart, a former SNP member, said she was “proud” the Scottish Government had said it welcomes Palestinian refugees and those in need of medical help.

“But without control of our own foreign policy, we need to demand that the UK Government act to end this assault and the occupation that gave birth to it.

“If this was any other conflict, there would have been sanctions years ago. The first priority, as demanded by Amnesty International, should be a total embargo on weapons.”

Urquhart added that she hoped local councils, universities and other public bodies would withdraw any investments in companies operating in Israel and occupied Palestine.

“Individual Scots can do our bit by boycotting Israeli goods, just as we did to help defeat apartheid in South Africa,” she said.

The Prime Minister, who was in Shetland for a short visit before flying to Glasgow on Wednesday, has urged Israel to “exercise restraint” and avoid targeting civilians.

But he also told Israeli leader Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday that the UK Government recognised its “right to take proportionate action to defend itself” and condemned Hamas’ refusal to end its rocket attacks “despite all international efforts to broker a ceasefire”.

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