MSPs back Gaza ceasefire calls as Yousaf warns of cruelty facing patients
The Scottish First Minister’s motion on a ceasefire received cross-party support.
Calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza have been backed by MSPs as Scotland’s First Minister described the “cruelty” facing patients in the region’s hospitals.
Humza Yousaf led a debate on Tuesday where he condemned the “abhorrent terrorist attacks” by Hamas while urging the Scottish Parliament to take a stand against collective punishment on Palestinians.
Mr Yousaf opened the debate by remembering the fear experienced by his mother-in-law Elizabeth El-Nakla after the conflict erupted following the October 7 attacks on Israel.
While Mrs El-Nakla and her husband Maged, the parents of Mr Yousaf’s wife Nadia, escaped the conflict and returned to Dundee, their family remains in Gaza, their son Mohammed, a doctor, and his poorly grandmother, 92.
Mr Yousaf told MSPs doctors in Gaza were having to take dangerous risks to treat their patients as vital supplies ran out.
He said: “This Government is unequivocal in its condemnation of the Israeli government cutting off water, food, fuel and supplies to the entire population of Gaza. Collective punishment can never be justified.
“Doctors, like my own brother-in-law Mohammed, are forced to practice medieval medicine, reportedly amputating limbs, stitching up serious wounds, even performing caesarean sections, without sufficient anaesthetic. This is a cruelty that cannot be allowed to continue.
“This Parliament and the international community must unite in calling for an immediate ceasefire.”
The motion, amended by a Scottish Labour amendment which called for the International Criminal Court to investigate the conflict’s conduct, passed by 90 votes to 28.
However, a Scottish Tory amendment, instead backing an humanitarian pause, fell by 89 votes to 28.
Scottish Tory external affairs spokesman Donald Cameron said: “Israel has the right to defend itself against terrorists, but every precaution must be taken by the Israeli government to protect innocent civilians from harm.”
He said the Scottish Tories “abhor the loss of innocent lives” but added that there was “no hope” a ceasefire would work.
“When that is the approach and leadership of Hamas, there is no hope that a full and meaningful ceasefire would work at this stage.”
Scottish Labour, however, backed the Scottish Government motion after UK Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer whipped MPs to reject ceasefire amendments in Westminster.
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said “the full force of international diplomacy must be used to create the conditions to make an immediate ceasefire a reality”.
Prior to the debate, Mr Yousaf wrote to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, urging him to recognise Palestine within the borders set out in 1967.
He also sent a similar letter to Sir Keir, arguing the move would help to end the “political impasse” between Israel and Palestine.
A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesperson said: “As the Prime Minister has said, we continue to support a just solution to the conflict for both sides and remain committed to a two-state solution that protects the peace and security of both Israelis and Palestinians, with the West Bank and Gaza part of a viable and sovereign Palestinian state.”