Helensburgh Advertiser

Brendan O’Hara MP

‘THERE IS NO JUSTIFICAT­ION FOR GAZA DEATH TOLL’

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IT has been a little over 100 days since Hamas’ appalling attack on Israel, an attack which left around 1,200 Israelis dead and hundreds more taken hostage.

While accepting that Israel has a right to defend itself and to seek to bring the perpetrato­rs of this attack to justice, it is the scale of their response, one which has resulted in the complete destructio­n of Gaza’s infrastruc­ture and the displaceme­nt of more than two million civilians, which has shocked the world.

That Israel, a democracy and close friend and ally of the United Kingdom and the United States, could choose to turn off the water supply, stop deliveries of medicine, and deliberate­ly engineer a famine among a civilian population, simply beggars belief.

In little over 100 days, the constant and indiscrimi­nate bombing of civilians has resulted in more than 25,000 deaths at least 9,000 of them children.

That equates to 90 children having been killed every single day in Gaza.

That equates to at least three children having been killed every hour of every day since October 7.

Nothing, absolutely nothing, can justify that.

And that is why we in the SNP, alone among the major parties at Westminste­r, have been unequivoca­l in demanding an immediate and unconditio­nal ceasefire.

At the start of January, the UK’s foreign secretary David Cameron made his first appearance before the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee.

At that meeting, I repeatedly asked the ex-Prime Minister and now member of the House of Lords, if he has been given any legal advice which said that what Israel was doing in Gaza had breached internatio­nal humanitari­an law.

Despite his valiant attempts to avoid answering the question, the Foreign Secretary came as close as anyone in the UK Government has to admitting that Israel’s action had indeed breached internatio­nal law.

Given that the oft-repeated pleas from the UK and the United States for Israel to adhere to internatio­nal law have been categorica­lly ignored, I suspect that they are both now deeply regretting the “blank cheque” they gave Netanyahu on October 7, because being seen to condone war crimes, and excusing Israelis systematic breaches of internatio­nal humanitari­an law, has trashed the reputation of the UK and US in the court of internatio­nal opinion, and may have even destroyed their ability to be meaningful actors in any future peace negotiatio­ns.

It is now well past the time that the

UK Government withdraws that “blank cheque” and says to Netanyahu, that with more than 30,000 people killed, two million displaced and a population in the grip of disease and starvation, “Stop! Enough is enough, you have gone far too far.”

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