The Scottish Parliament has backed an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, with Labour MSPs supporting the move in a break with their party’s official stance in Westminster.
A motion tabled by Humza Yousaf which said that “all parties” in the conflict must agree to an immediate end to the fighting was backed last night by 90 votes to 28.
MSPs also backed an amendment from Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar which acknowledged that for any ceasefire to work, it “requires all sides to comply”.
Another amendment by the Scottish Conservatives, which sought to remove the ceasefire call and replace it with one for “humanitarian pauses” to allow for aid deliveries, was defeated.
Ahead of the debate, Mr Yousaf wrote to Rishi Sunak urging the UK Government to recognise a Palestinian state, arguing that this would help break the “political impasse that has condemned Israelis and the Palestinians to successive cycles of violence”.
The First Minister, who wrote a similar letter to Sir Keir Starmer, said only by recognising Palestine as a state in its own right could a two-state solution be achieved.
“Recognition would offer hope to Palestinians that a just and durable political solution is possible,” he wrote. “It would make it plain to the Israeli government that a military solution is illusory and the expulsion of Palestinians from Gaza is unacceptable.
“I urge you to show the international leadership you claim for the UK by calling for an immediate ceasefire by all sides, and by announcing the UK Government’s recognition of the state of Palestine.”
The UK Government has previously said it would only recognise a Palestinian state at the “right time”.
Mr Yousaf opened the debate by telling MSPs that doctors in Gaza are having to take dangerous risks to simply treat their patients, as vital supplies ran out.
“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,” he added.
“Doctors, like my own brother-in-law Mohammed, are forced to practise 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.”
Tory MSP Megan Gallacher used her contribution to read out the names and ages of many of the hundreds of people taken hostage by Hamas, which took her a full five minutes.