A motion for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza is set to be supported by MSPs, despite a dispute between Scottish Labour and the SNP. Scottish Labour has said it will back an SNP motion at Holyrood, but a row has arisen over a proposed amendment from Anas Sarwar’s party. While supporting the SNP’s call for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire”, the Labour amendment notes that it will require “all sides to comply” for it to work. While Labour said it would strengthen the motion, the SNP suggested that it would be weakened.
The SNP motion, submitted by First Minister Humza Yousaf, says the parliament condemns the “barbaric and unjustifiable terrorist attacks” by Hamas on 7 October and the killing of civilians, including women and children, in Israel’s siege of Gaza. It calls for hostages to be released, increased humanitarian aid, international law to be upheld and a two-state peace solution. The motion also expresses solidarity with Scotland’s Jewish, Muslim and Palestinian communities and condemns antisemitism, Islamophobia or any other form of hatred.
The Labour amendment adds to the statement that the parliament is “horrified” by the reported Hamas statement that it would repeat the 7 October attacks and continue rocket fire into Israel. It expresses regret that Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would not consider a ceasefire. The amendment “therefore calls on the international community to use every form of diplomacy to try and create the conditions on the ground to make a ceasefire a reality”. It also calls on the International Criminal Court to investigate both sides of the conflict.
With Scottish Labour backing a ceasefire, the party is at odds with UK Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who favours “humanitarian pauses”, which tend to last for short periods of time, sometimes just a few hours. Sir Keir has argued that a ceasefire would not be appropriate, because it would freeze the conflict and embolden Hamas. The Labour leader saw 56 of his MPs rebel last week as they backed an SNP motion calling for an immediate ceasefire. Both Scottish Labour MPs, Ian Murray and Michael Shanks, abstained
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